UK – British multinational alcohol giant, Diageo, has announced plans to invest in a facility with the capacity to produce “hundreds of thousands of tons” of recycled-content aluminum.

The Guinness brand owner has made an undisclosed amount of investment to help set up the British Aluminium Consortium for Advanced Alloys (BACALL), which it calls “a collective of industry experts who will create a circular economy for aluminum in the U.K.”

The consortium will lead an effort to “build a plant to roll hundreds of thousands of metric tons of aluminum sheet in the U.K., more than enough for over 400 million cans of Guinness and pre-mixed Gordon’s and tonic,” states Diageo.

Currently, making recycled-content aluminum cans in the U.K. relies on “an energy-intensive supply chain that is based on the unsustainable exporting and importing of aluminum,” says the company.

Diageo says the plant being planned will “establish a new circular-economy supply chain for aluminum [that] will keep the recycling of aluminum in the U.K. and cement the U.K.’s position as a leader in the adoption of carbon reduction and manufacturing.”

Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer at Diageo said: “We are now seeking to work in partnership with business and government to not only reduce aluminum’s carbon footprint, but also to bring this part of the aluminum supply chain back to the U.K.”

Once operational, the plant will expedite the company’s ten-year sustainability action plan by increasing recycled aluminium usage, with Guinness cans to be made of 100% recycled material.

The new facility will also reduce carbon emissions during the export and import of aluminium sheets, as well as minimize the company’s dependency on raw materials for making aluminium.

In addition, the plant will reduce energy usage used in aluminium sheet production by 95% less when compared to traditional production methods.

Diageo initially collaborated with the BACALL in 2021 when it co-funded a feasibility study with the UK government.

The study aims to understand how a large-scale circular economy strategy could be adopted across the aluminium sector in the UK.

BACALL non-executive director David Sneddon added: “Aluminium is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet – yet the 15 billion plus cans made in the UK rely on an energy-intensive supply chain, that requires aluminium to be brought in and out of the country.”

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