The average recycling rate for aluminium closures in Europe has increased to more than 50%, according to figures released recently by the “Aluminium Closures – Turn 360°” campaign by the European Aluminium Foil Association.
Much of this improvement is due to national initiatives and better collection and recycling schemes across Europe, according to the Association.
Aluminium closures, mainly used on bottles of wine, spirits, water and olive oil, can be collected either with the mixed packaging fraction or together with the glass collection stream. Thanks to modern processes the aluminium is easily extracted and recycled, from both material streams.
Because packaging collection and recycling systems in Europe vary considerably from country to country, national initiatives are proving to be most effective. For example, the UK’s “You Can Leave Your Cap On” scheme has enabled local authorities to increase the recovery of aluminium closures for recycling. Initiated by ALUPRO, in partnership with British Glass and EAFA, it encourages recyclers to screw the closures back on their empty bottles before recycling so that more aluminium can be successfully recovered.
Sharing best practices in the European network of aluminium packaging recycling organisations, ALU DK initiated a similar project in Denmark with the “Keep the Cap on” campaign, supported by the Danish government. Other national organisations like CIAL in Italy increasingly refer to aluminium closures in their general and special announcements to raise the awareness that aluminium closures are perfectly suitable to be collected and recycled.
Commenting on the figures, EAFA’s Closures Group Chair Franco Bove said, “It is encouraging to see the industry continues to support national initiatives which enhance the collection and recycling of aluminium closures. Recycled aluminium is a valuable commodity, so supports the economics of the recycling process.”
These aluminium closure recycling rates are calculated on the basis of publicly available national overall aluminium recycling rates, plus consumption data from market research companies.