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Aluminium packaging hits 68% recycling rate in 2023

According to annual data published on the National Packaging Waste Database by the Environment Agency, the UK’s aluminium packaging recycling rate hit an impressive 68% in 2023. A record breaking 162,357 tonnes were recycled nationwide, including more than four in five beverage cans (81%).


Despite a rapidly growing domestic market, aluminium packaging collected through kerbside, bring and on the go systems increased by 13% year on year (115,382, compared to 102,195 in 2022). Elsewhere, tonnage recovered from incinerator bottom ash (IBA) shot up by 17% (45,632 compared to 38,982). 


Commenting on the announcement, Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, said: ‘I am delighted to announce record breaking recycling volumes for 2023. While more aluminium packaging was placed on the domestic market than last year, it is pleasing to see that recycling rates have more than kept up with pace.


‘As an industry, we have been investing heavily in optimising our collection and recycling infrastructure for the past 20 years and we are now reaping the rewards of this long term commitment. Despite ongoing delays and uncertainty surrounding proposed changes to national recycling legislation, the sector is continuing to deliver over and above annual targets.


‘Aluminium is quickly becoming a material of choice for many brands, hence the growth of the domestic market. Alongside boasting a wide range of superior benefits for packaging applications, it is a safe material to work with from a sustainability perspective. Having robust national recycling systems in place is the icing on the cake, enabling used packaging to be recycled over and over again – the perfect circular economy.’


Chris Latham-Warde of Every Can Counts, Alupro’s communications programme aimed at driving drink can recycling, added: ‘Such an impressive recycling rate reflects ever increasing public awareness about environmental issues and the widespread benefits of recycling. Over the past 12 months, Every Can Counts and MetalMatters have continued to engage with consumers across the UK and Ireland to inspire further progress when it comes to improving recycling rates at home and on the go. 


‘As we continue into 2024, we remain optimistic that the impact of these initiatives will help to further improve best practice recycling behaviours and drive collection figures even higher.’



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