Aluminium beverage cans recycling in 2021 at a new record level of 76%

Press Release

The latest report by Metal Packaging Europe and European Aluminium shows that the overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the European Union, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland went up by 3.2 per cent to a new record level of 76 per cent (76.1 per cent). The total amount of aluminium recycled from cans reached a record level of 570,000 tonnes, an increase of 60,000 tonnes from the previous year. This represents a total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions saving of 4.7 million tonnes of CO₂eq (equivalent to the annual amount of GHG produced by a European city of more than half a million inhabitants like Antwerp or Poznan1.)

Aluminium beverage cans recycling in 2021 at a new record level of 76%

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Beverage cans manufacturers (members of Metal Packaging Europe) and their aluminium suppliers (members of European Aluminium) are pleased with the increased recycling rate at the European level, which is a testament to the ongoing industry and supply chain efforts to improve recycling. However, several EU Member States still struggle to reach 90 per cent recycling or more. The industry supports more ambitious separate collection targets for beverage containers like aluminium beverage cans, as referred to in the proposed EU Packaging Regulation.

“We are proud of the latest achievement and believe the industry is on the right path towards 100 per cent circularity of aluminium beverage cans by 2050. Today, beverage cans are one of the most recycled packaging formats on the European market. Can manufacturers recently joined other industry leaders at COP 28 in a call to accelerate aluminium beverage can circularity and contribute to Net Zero 2050.’’ said Krassimira Kazahska, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe, adding that “Aluminium is a ‘permanent’ material, which means that it can be recycled multiple times through high-quality recycling processes without losing its inherent properties."

“We encourage Member States to implement well-balanced Deposit Return Systems (DRS) as this will help move to a fully circular solution for the aluminium beverage can via ‘can-to-can’ recycling. Although used beverage cans (UBCs) can easily be recycled into other aluminium products like automotive or bicycle parts, customers are increasingly looking for high recycled content in their new cans. We can do this by providing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes to supply our remelting plants with sufficient quantities and quality of separately collected and sorted UBCs. Only DRS can guarantee this’’, according to Maarten Labberton, Director of Packaging Group at European Aluminium.

Aluminium beverage cans recycling in 2021 at a new record level of 76%

1If a yearly GHG emission of 9,2 tonnes is assumed per EU citizen as used in the Product Environmental Footprint methodology, see Normalisation method and data for Environmental Footprints – Deliverable 2 of the AA Environmental Footprint and Material Efficiency Support for Product Policy (No. 70307/2012/ENV.C.1/635340)

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