Aluminium recycling levels defended by industry

By Laura Crowley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Aluminium Recycling

The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) hit back
against criticisms on recycling issues by UK environment secretary
Hilary Benn, saying that while it agreed improvements must be made,
some remarks were incorrect.

Speaking to the waste and recycling sector at a London conference earlier this month, Benn had highlighted the need for tougher targets on aluminium recycling as the sector still has a long way to go. "Hilary Benn is quite right to emphasise the importance of recycling aluminium packaging but unfortunately some of the context of his remarks was incorrect,"​ said Alupro executive director Rick Hindley. "Wehave our sights set firmly on the future, with imaginative programme support to boost recycling from every source sector." ​ Benn was reported as quoting the recycling rate for aluminium packaging in 2006 as 32.5 per cent, and only a little higher for aluminium cans. According to Hindley, Benn may have been comparing recycling rates for aluminium packaging with the 'cans only' rates quoted by most European countries as their packaging figure. He said the aluminium can recycling rate is actually 48 per cent and this appears mid-table in comparison with the rest of Europe. It also compares favourably to other single-serve food or drinks packs that rely completely on consumer participation. Aluminium tonnage is 99 per cent small consumer packaging, with drinks representing only 61 per cent of the total tonnage used to calculate recycling rates. Hindley said: "However, this still means that for every can recycled, one is thrown away, andUKperformance needs to improve. Recycling is an integral part of global production, with 75 per cent of all aluminium ever produced still in circulation." ​ A third of aluminium cans are discarded in away-from-home locations such as the workplace, sports and leisure facilities and while on the move, according to Alupro. It said that these areas are just beginning to receive recycling services, and so rates should improve. The statement was issued to by Alupro in response to reports by that Benn had pinpointed the aluminium industry as performing particularly badly in recycling issues. The organisation said it now looks forward to meeting with Benn to discuss the recycling of aluminium packaging and government plans for reducing waste. While Alupro considers it important Benn has an understanding of the system failures, it insists it is working on increasing aluminium rates. "We have constantly argued that theUK's 'meet minimum targets at least cost' approach to packaging waste legislation has held back the collection of our material,"​ said Hindley. In the conference, the Benn had also stressed support for the use of anaerobic digestion for industry to deal with organic waste such as food waste, according to the recycling news site. He said that turning surplus organic material animal feedstock was an alternative use for surplus organic material and was keen to work with the waste sector to make this happen.

Related topics Processing & packaging

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