UK industry group Alupro has rejected digital deposit return schemes (DRS) for aluminium cans, claiming they are unproven.
‘Aluminium drinks cans are a real success story for the circular economy; they are completely recyclable with the industry achieving an impressive and market-leading UK recycling rate of 82%,’ according to Alupro.
The metals industry wants to go further, with ambitions to recycle 100% of cans by 2030, and Alupros insists a ‘well-designed’ DRS, such as those of Finland or Denmark, is a key instrument to achieve this. A digital version of such a system, however, using mobile technology and unique codes, would not be the best option.
The group cites studies and trials that have highlighted only the potential theoretical benefits of a digital system, arguing they yet to be demonstrated at scale. It is also unsure whether the requirements placed on the packaging value chain by a digital DRS are even feasible or sensible.
‘They have proven simply that the public appear, quite understandably, supportive of recycling initiatives that they can participate in by using an app at home,’ Alupro points out.
It sees two main obstacles. ‘Firstly, a digital DRS cannot be facilitated by the aluminium beverage packaging and supply chain. Secondly, it is not as effective as a conventional DRS as a measure that improves packaging sustainability and recycling rates.’
‘Our industry is opposed to any proposal that doesn’t guarantee lower contamination levels for recycling nor conclusively tackle litter,’ Alupro concludes.