The overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in the EU 27 increased by 1.2% to 64.3% in 2009.

Despite the difficult economic situation the consumption of aluminium beverage cans in wider Europe remained at 34bn units - it was possible to collect and recycle a further 400M in addition to the 21bn cans already recycled.

The additional amount of cans recycled results into an extra greenhouse gas saving of 50kt, which is the equivalent of removing 20000 passenger cars from the road for a year.

Traditionally beverage can recycling rates differ a lot from country to country. Most of the Nordic European countries have well-balanced deposit systems in place which generate stable and high recycling rates of around 90%.

Countries such as Belgium with well-managed pre-sorted packaging collection schemes also book excellent results. However, some of these schemes need further improvement and should focus on a better sorting quality and include the collection of cans which are consumed out-of-home.

More consistent instructions to consumers as well as improved sorting with the help of modern eddy-current separators should further boost the collection and recycling performance, not only for beverage cans but for the whole aluminium packaging fraction.

Successful domestic programmes such as the UK Every Can Counts initiative help and are now being replicated in other countries including France and Austria.

The main purpose of these programmes is to stimulate consumers at their workplace or while enjoying other outdoor activities such as a festival or a sport event to collect and deposit their cans in designated bins.

tEU Member States shold further improve their reporting of the recycled quantities of metal packaging, for example by including the quantities which are collected outside regular schemes.

Several countries in Central and Eastern Europe have collection schemes run by the private sector, using the high scrap value of aluminium as the main driver while more countries also collect metals from the bottom ashes of the household waste incinerators. These fractions should be taken into account.

Based on the overall positive recycling trend over the past 20 years the aluminium industry together with the can manufacturers are aiming at an average European recycling rate of 75% in 2015 for all beverage cans.