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Europe recycles two out of three aluminium beverage cans

Europe – The European recycling industry set a new record by recycling 66.7% of all aluminium beverage cans in 2010, reports the European Aluminium Association (EAA). This represents a tripling of the recycling rate over the last 20 years, over which period the consumption of cans has doubled.

The same upward trend is visible for consumption, ‘€˜which increased by 2 billion units to a total of 36 billion cans in 2010,’€™ reveals the EAA. ‘€˜This means that at least 24 billion aluminium beverage cans were recycled.’€™

In the early 1990s, only 30% of all beverage cans were recycled. ‘€˜This figure rose to 52% in 2005, meaning that we are confident that we should be able to recycle three out of four cans by 2015 or thereabouts, with further growth potential for the years up to 2020,’€™ adds the association.

Several countries, including Belgium and Germany, have already reached or are exceeding this level, mainly ‘€˜due to their highly-efficient and well-established collection and sorting infrastructures’€™, according to the EAA. In particular, countries with deposit systems are able to generate a large, clean fraction of used aluminium beverage cans that are ‘€˜immediately ready for recycling back into new cans or other valuable aluminium products’€™.

Results could be improved by focusing on cans that are consumed outside of the home – for example, in the workplace or at public events, the association states. In this context, it has developed the ‘€˜Every Can Counts’€™ promotional tool that points out the importance of recycling every single can ‘€˜regardless of where its contents are actually consumed’€™. Originally launched in the UK, it has since gone live in France, Austria, Romania and Hungary, with Ireland set to follow shortly.

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