UK’s 2015 aluminium recycling rate higher than expected

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Alupro research finds that the UK’s 2015 recycling rate for aluminium is seven per cent higher than thought

Research carried out by the environmental consultancy firm, Resource Future, on behalf of the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) has found that the UK recycled 55 per cent of its aluminium waste in 2015, which is seven per cent higher than the initial figure.

The Alupro study discovered that more than 10,000 tonnes of aluminium recycling went unaccounted for when the 2015 aluminium recycling rate was calculated.

Aluminium recycling rate higher than expected

Aluminium can recycling centre

According to the initial figures, 48 per cent of aluminium packaging waste was recycled in 2015 and 60 per cent of used aluminium cans was also recycled. The combined recycling rate from these two figures means that the UK had already achieved the 49 per cent aluminium recycling target which had been set for 2015.

The research by Alupro found that more than 10,000 tonnes of aluminium recycling had gone unreported through the packaging recycling note (PRN) system. This means that the UK recycled 86,200 tonnes of aluminium in 2015, as opposed to the original figure of 76,027 tonnes.

Alupro used the EU’s methodology system (as set out in the European Commission’s new Circular Economy package) for calculating recycling rates. The executive director of Alupro, Rick Hindley, commented: “It is vital that the measurement system we use in the UK for calculating recycling performance is aligned to the methodology used throughout Europe.”

The study suggests that 55 per cent of the aluminium waste produced in the UK in 2015 was recycled. In addition, 69 per cent of aluminium cans were recycled, rather than the initial 60 per cent figure.

Mr Hindley added: “Our research clearly demonstrates the need to encourage more reprocessors to become accredited to ensure that the PRN system provides an accurate record of recycling performance.”

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