European Aluminium and Metal Packaging Europe have launched a joint Roadmap towards achieving 100 % aluminium beverage can recycling by 2030.
The Roadmap reflects the conviction among aluminium producers of can sheet, manufacturers of aluminium beverage cans and recyclers of used aluminium beverage cans that the full potential of the aluminium beverage can as a front-runner in a truly circular economy can be achieved within the next ten years.
EU Commission welcomes roadmap for beverage can recycling
Oliver Graham, chairman of the Beverage Can Commission at Metal Packaging Europe, said: “Made from a permanent and infinitely recyclable material, easily sorted and efficiently recycled, and with a high end-of-life economic value, the aluminium beverage can is well-suited for ‘real circularity’. With this in mind, achieving a 100 % recycling rate for beverage cans by 2030 is a realistic aim, based on maximizing the circular potential of the aluminium beverage can.”
Andy Doran, chairman of the European Aluminium Packaging Group, added: “While we are confident that we can achieve this ambitious target, it will require the participation and support of the entire value chain. We therefore call on our partners, including brand owners, retailers, consumers, packaging recovery organizations, recyclers and others, to work with us to further improve the collection of cans, as part of a joint mission to fully close the loop and move from the current recycling rate of 76.1 % to a real recycling rate of 100 % in 2030.”
Kestutis Sadauskas, director for Circular Economy and Green Growth at the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Environment, welcomed the initiative: “The aluminium industry can be praised for its efforts to improve the recyclability rate of aluminium beverage packaging. But work still remains to be done. Our ambition is that all packaging put on the EU market in 2030 is either recyclable or reusable. A transformative joint effort is necessary to make all packaging circular, to reduce inefficiency and environmental impact, and I do not underestimate the challenge. The Commission acknowledges the importance of aluminium as a resource towards a circular and low carbon economy. We must also play our part and the Recovery and Resilience Facility will provide large-scale financial support to investments.”
Improving collection systems is the key
The Roadmap was launched on 24 March during a webinar, attended by over 200 stakeholders, a collaboration which will be vital to achieving this ambitious, but realistic aim. The presentation was followed by a lively panel discussion, featuring speakers from key areas of the value chain, all of whom expressed their willingness to work towards reaching the 100 % target set out in the Roadmap.
Menno Koopmans from Soul Water described the aluminium beverage can as fitting perfectly with the brand’s socially conscious and sustainable ethos, while Sophie Genier, from the French ‘Green Dot’ scheme Citeo, promised to further improve the French yellow bin system for all recyclable packaging, including beverage cans. Kjell Olav Maldum from Norwegian deposit return system (DRS) Infinitum stressed how well-suited aluminium is to a cost-effective DRS, resulting in almost 100 % collection rates and high-grade recycling and Vanya Veras of Municipal Waste Europe stressed the importance of continuing to develop strong links between industry and municipalities for more effective collection.