The aluminium packaging recycling company, Alupro, have launched a new scheme to boost recycling rates in the UK. Let’s Recycle reports that the initiative aims to beat the target of a 50% recycling rate for aerosol containers by 2030. The organisation has secured cross-industry support to help achieve the aim.
According to Recycle Now, about 60% or aerosols are made from tinplated steel, and 40% are made from aluminium, both of which can be recycled. Around 75% of councils collect used aerosols from the kerbside, and there are also many recycling banks in public places where empty cans can be dropped off.
Aluminium cans are shredded, and any coatings are removed. They are then melted down in a furnace and poured into casts to make fresh containers. Steel cans are melted in a furnace with molten iron, and then blasted with oxygen to heat it to an ultra-high temperature. The liquid metal is them poured in moulds, to create reusable rolls of steel.
Steel is made from iron ore, and its production has traditionally involved the use of large quantities of coal and limestone. In order to preserve the earth’s natural resources from further depletion, it is important to increase the recycling rates of steel as much as possible. It is a metal that can be recycled multiple times with no loss of quality.
Aluminium is extracted from bauxite, another raw material which consumes a high volume of energy and creates harmful carbon emissions during the extraction process. It takes about four tonnes of bauxite to produce one tonne of aluminium. It is easily recycled, using just 5% of the energy needed to extract raw bauxite.
Tom Giddings, Alupro’s executive director, said: “Consistently, aerosols top WRAP’s annual list of confusing consumer packaging types in regard to recycling. As an industry, our goal is to exceed a 50% aerosol recycling rate by 2030, making this initiative critical.”
He added: “This initiative will see us work closely with our partners to improve consumer behaviour and aerosol recycling infrastructure in the UK. These changes to the metal packaging industry will contribute not only towards a wider sustainable future but also allow us to take an important step towards a 100% metal packaging recycling rate.”
Alpuro have announced the initiative ahead of new plans for a deposit return scheme for drinks containers is expected to take effect, subject to any changes made by the new administration. There are also expected to be greater responsibilities placed on manufacturers for their product recycling rates.
Robbie Staniforth, innovation and policy director at Ecosurety, said: “Many of the barriers preventing aerosols being recycled are well-known. What is less clear is how those barriers can be removed. This initiative will pave the way for achieving much higher recycling rates for aluminium packaging in future.”
So far, Alupro have not confirmed if they have any plans to encourage more recycling of gas canisters, which are more challenging to recycle effectively.
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