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New recycling schemes needed despite improvements

By Mark Astley , 21-Sep-2011

Further improvements are needed in the collection and recycling of aluminium beverage cans, despite recycling rates for the cans increasing across the EU, according to the European Aluminium Association (EAA).

The overall recycling rate, across the 27 EU countries, EFTA (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) and Turkey, increased from 63.1% to 64.3% in 2009, whilst the average beverage can consumption remained stable at 34bn units.

But despite the increase, chairman of the EAA Packaging group, Laurent Musy, has called for better recycling practice and more focused collection schemes in order to meet their ambitious targets for aluminium beverage can recycling.

The industry body is targeting a 75% European wide aluminium recycling rate by 2015.

They also hope to achieve an 80% recycling rate for all rigid metal packaging containers by 2020.

Central and Eastern future promise

Musy was speaking at the EAA Packaging Group annual seminar, where “promising” Central and Eastern European aluminium beverage can recycling rates were confirmed.

Poland was highest with 66%, followed by Estonia on 59% and Slovenia with 50%.

Elsewhere, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary enjoyed rates of 40% or more, and Romania and Bulgaria now stand above the 30% mark.

But despite the improved rate, Musy has stressed that further investment in selective collection is essential if the industry is to ‘make a significant contribution to a more resource efficient Europe’.

New schemes

In order to reach this aluminium target, the EAA intends to improve the existing selective collection schemes, begin additional aluminium recycling from incinerator waste and improve the reporting of privatised, scrap value-driven recycling in EU member states.

Several Central and Eastern European countries have collection schemes run by the private sector. The EAA believe these numbers should be taken into account as well.

As well as this the EAA hopes to address out-of-home consumed beverage cans through specific programmes such as the UK based ‘Every Can Counts’, which stimulates consumers at their workplace or whilst out to deposit their cans in designated bins.

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