Aluminium packaging recycling in the UK hits new heights

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The UK aluminium packaging recycling rate has risen to 56% in 2019, its highest ever level (52% in 2018), according to the latest Environment Agency data.

Around 207,000t of aluminium packaging were sold in the UK during 2019, of which 116,670t were recycled, including an estimated 76% of all aluminium beverage cans sold.

More than 102,944 tonnes of the collected aluminium packaging (88%) was recycled into new high quality products within Europe. The business recycling rate once again surpassed targets, reaching 63% (compared to 60% in 2018), while consumer-collected aluminium packaging recycling also rocketed by 20% from 74,595t in 2018 to 89,543t in 2019.

Greater public awareness of aluminium packaging recycling

Alongside greater public awareness about the widespread benefits of recycling, delivered through initiatives such as MetalMatters and Every Can Counts, the positive increase can be partly attributed to the aluminium sector’s continued investment into ensuring that the packaging it produces is recycled. The volume of aluminium packaging recovered from incinerator bottom ash also increased, as a result of increasing volume of household residual waste being diverted to energy from waste plants rather than going to landfill.

Rick Hindley, executive director at Alupro, commented: “Since 2010, the UK’s aluminium packaging recycling rate has increased by 15%. This demonstrates the desire of British consumers to step up and do their bit for the environment. Our goal is to achieve an aluminium packaging recycling rate close to 100% across the UK – maintaining such impressive progress is essential to make this a reality.”

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