Despite a difficult economic climate, consumption of aluminium beverage cans increased by two billion units to a 2010 total of 36 billion cans. This means that at least 24 billion cans were recycled, according to the EAA, resulting in a saving of 2.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas.

Having reported recycling figures for the past 30 years, the EAA can reveal that in the early nineties, only 30% of beverage cans were recycled. By 2005, the figure was 52%.

"We are confident that by 2015 we should be able to recycle three out of four cans," the EAA claims.

In terms of their percentage recycling rates (of aluminium beverage cans), the top European performer was Germany with 96% followed in second place by Finland with 95%, Norway with 93% and then Belgium and Switzerland with 91% each.

The poor performers were mainly from Eastern Europe with Romania in last place with 20%, Slovenia with 27% and Latvia with 30%. Greece was next with 38%, then Lithuania with 40%, Portugal and Ireland with 45% apiece, Hungary at 50%, the Czech Republic & Slovakia at 52% and then the United Kingdom with 54%.