Packaging briefs: Rusal and UK recycling shake up

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling

UC Rusal moves to consolidate its position as the world's leading
producer of aluminium-foil packaging by expanding in Russia, whilst
manufacturers and retailers are faced with new proposals for
recycling labels in the UK.

Rusal steps up Russian alumium foil production ​The world's largest manufacturer of aluminium products hopes to tap growing demand for foil-based packaging in Russia's booming beverage and food market with construction of a new plant in the country. UC Rusal today announced it will invest $20m into the project, which will boost the group's total output capacity of packaging foil by 20,000 tonnes, granting it a 66 per cent share of foil and foil-based packaging in the country. The company expects the site to meet growing demands for aluminium foil packaging amongst Russian manufacturers, a market which it claims is growing at around 5.8 per cent a year. Construction on the site, which is expected to begin next year, will be completed by 2009, UC Rusal says. Foil used at the plant will be shipped from the company's Armenal, Sayanal, and Ural existing foil mills in the country. The site will employ the latest cutting, stamping and lamination equipment to ensure the group is staying ahead of market developments. Alexander Burdin, UC Rusal's packaging division director, said that the huge market growth in food, beverages and pharmaceuticals in the country was forcing packagers to push for greater innovation as well as output. "Today, we are manufacturing foil-based products inRussiathat comply with the highest international quality standards,"​ he stated. "We will continue to develop and plan to double the production of our alufoil-based flexible packaging inRussiawithin three years." Manufacturers advice sought onUKrecycling labelling ​European food and beverage manufacturers have been urged to join UK retailers and legislators in devising a single national standard for labelling how easy it is to recycle individual packaging in the country. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have outlined a new labelling scheme that they claim can better inform consumers whether packaging was widely recyclable, if at all in the UK The consultation, which will finish on 14 December, could potentially make food and beverage manufacturers more accountable for what materials used to contain their goods in the future. The new logo design would employ one of three designations depending on how available facilities were in the country for consumers to recycle the packaging. The designations are:

  • Widely recycled - 65 per cent or more of UK authorities have means to recycle the product.

  • Check locally - 20 per cent to 65 per cent of authorities can recycle the product.

  • Not currently recycled - less than 20 per cent of local authorities currently recycle the packaging.

Wrap says that consumers are increasingly demanding clearer and consistent information on what packaging can be recycled. By working in conjunction with the BRC, the organisation hopes to offer consumers more informed choices about the packaging they are buying. BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said that the label would ensure a uniform standard for labelling recyclables in the country to better help the government meet its targets for packaging waste. "Ideally material that's recyclable in one area would be recyclable everywhere, but, so far, it isn't,"​ he stated. "Local inconsistencies cannot be allowed to thwart a standardised label which will help millions of customers, and mean more of what can be recycled is collected."

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