The overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in Europe (EU 28 + EFTA) increased by 1.6% to a new record level of 72.9% in 20141.
European Aluminium considers this result an important milestone on its path towards the future split aluminium recycling target of 75% for 2025, proposed by the European Union in its Circular Economy package.
On the whole European continent (including other East-European countries, Russia and Turkey) nearly 30 billion cans have been recycled. This means that every second an aluminium beverage can is being recycled somewhere in Europe! Their metal stays in the European circular economy and remains available for the production of new aluminium products. Recycling aluminium takes 95% less energy than producing it from its raw materials. The recycling process also generates only 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions.
Aluminium beverage cans contribute to a large extent to the overall recycling result of all aluminium packaging. Although only a few European countries already report specific recycling numbers to Eurostat for the whole aluminium packaging fraction we can safely assume that all European citizens together recycle more than 60% of their used aluminium packaging. However, this also means that the aluminium industry together with its partners in the value chain has to bridge the gap with the newly proposed targets within a relatively short period of time. European Aluminium will continue to play its part in these activities.
Maarten Labberton, Director of the European Aluminium Packaging Group, calls upon the EU Member States to make an extra effort to collect, sort and recycle more drink cans and other aluminium packaging items within the coming years. ‘’While we support the ambitious 75% target for aluminium packaging we strongly recommend that local authorities together with the waste management chain invest more in innovative sorting technologies. Fortunately, these investments will pay off quickly, due to the relatively high scrap value of aluminium’.’
Through its successful awareness programme with the can manufacturers, Every Can Counts, European Aluminium is continuously addressing the collection and recycling of so called “out-of-home” cans; cans consumed at the workplace, at festivals or other outdoor events. In 2017 Poland and the Benelux countries joined Every Can Counts and more countries are expected to adopt this programme in the near future.