UK – The United Kingdom’s Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) has said that the recycling rate of aluminium both in the British Isles and upon the European continent continues to make significant strides, achieving and surpassing goals that were set for the practice last year.

According to Alupro, the recycling rate for aluminium drink cans continued its upward trend in 2017, increasing by 2 percent over the previous year to 72 percent.

It also said that the rate for all aluminium packaging improved as well, increasing by a full percent to a total of 51 percent last year.

The figures obtained by Alupro stated that the number of Packaging Recovery Notes raised last year increased from 90,095 metric tons the year prior to 94,092 metric tons in 2017.

However, the data indicates that better than 8,000 metric tons worth of PRNs were raised but not issued, which the association says points out the need for a reform in the government’s system for counting the amount of aluminium that is ultimately recycled.

A report by the European Aluminium (EA), said the new percentage has surpassed the recently approved EU 2025 recycling target of 65% for all packaging.

EA chairman Any Doran said: “We strongly recommend that local authorities together with the waste management chain invest more in innovative sorting technologies.

Fortunately, these investments will pay off quickly, due to the relatively high scrap value of aluminium.”

He added: “Packaging recovery organisations should embrace our successful awareness programme with the can manufacturers, Every Can Counts, and help us to convince the European citizens to the do the right thing, which is to collect and recycle their used cans wherever they are.”

Overall, Alupro said the data reveals that 92 percent of the aluminium packaging collected for recycling in the United Kingdom is processed in Europe, which they say proves that the region possesses easily enough capacity to recycle the entirety of aluminium produced by the U.K.

Alupro’s Executive Director Rick Hindley opined that the improved numbers provide the association a springboard for achieving even greater gains in the coming years.

“It is fantastic to see aluminium packaging recycling rates continuing to increase year on year.

We must continue to increase awareness and understanding of what happens to used aluminium packaging when it is recycled.

Given widespread concerns regarding where our kerbside recycling ends up, and whether it is actually recycled, we believe the 92% is statistic will give people the confidence that when they recycle aluminium packaging, it really is recycled – and close to home,” said Rick.

“Aluminium packaging has an intrinsic value. The issue is encouraging consumers to recognise aluminium packaging as an extremely cost-effective material to recycle, through education and effective communications.

In the UK, developing and stimulating the existing kerbside collection infrastructure is a great starting point, but consistency is essential – the public remains confused by the differing rules across local authorities.

We must help them to do the right thing and recycle.”