Rexam to switch to aluminium cans in Germany

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Packaging waste, Aluminium, European union

UK-based Rexam will switch to using aluminium instead of steel at
its beverage can plant in Berlin in response to new recycling
requirements.

Rexam says the change will make it easier and cheaper for customers of beverage processors to meet Germany and the EU's packaging recycling requirements. New requirements set by the European Commission last year roughly double packaging recycling targets for the bloc's 25 members. They will put extra cost pressures on the food industry, which is amajor producer of packaging waste. The Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive of 1994 as revised last year in 2004, covers all packaging placed on the market in the EU and all packaging waste, whether it is used or released at theindustrial, commercial, office, shop, service, household or any other level, regardless of the material used. Countries must introduce systems for the return and collection of used packaging to attain the targets. Bu the end of 2008 a minimum of 60 per cent of packaging waste must be recovered orincinerated. Between 55 and 80 per cent of packaging waste must be recycled. For glass, paper and board the target is 60 per cent by weight. For metals the target is 50 per cent, for plastics 22.5 percent and for wood 15 per cent. Rexam's conversion to aluminium is a response to Germany's planned introduction of a nationwide return system for one-way containers in May 2006. The favourable economics of the aluminium can in a deposit system combined with its environmental track record are the key drivers behind the move, Rexam said. Aluminium cans are fully recyclable. The aluminium can go through the recycling process repeatedly without deterioration. "Rexam believes the high scrap value of aluminium will make the beverage can the most viable packaging solution within the new return system," the company stated. "With ascrap value that is at least one euro cent higher than any other packaging material, a used aluminium beverage can is the only pack that will generate a good scrap income under the deposit." Beverage cans also have lower handling costs throughout the supply chain. Returned cans can be easily compacted for transport. Rexam plans to start converting the Berlin plant will start in January 2006. The process is due to be completed by the end of the second quarter at a cost of €24m. Following the conversion, production at the plant will increase from two to three lines creating an estimated 40 new jobs. Rexam has two steel can plants in Spain. The company has a total of about 20 can plants across Europe. In 2003, about 10.7 million tonnes of aluminium were used in fabricated goods in the EU's 25 members. Primary production of the metal in the bloc currently amounts to about 2.9 million tonnes,according to figures by the European Aluminium Association. Without aluminium recycling, the bloc would have to import about 7.8 million tonnes of aluminium to meet current requirements. In 2003, the EU25 produced 3.9 million tonnes of aluminium castings,wrought aluminium and deoxidation aluminium from scrap, the association stated. External links to companies or organisations mentioned in this story: Rexam

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