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Further gains in Europe’s alu-can recycling

EU – The overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans across the EU-27 plus Turkey and the EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) increased by 1.2 percentage points to 64.3% in 2009.

Despite difficult economic conditions which saw consumption of aluminium beverage cans remain at 34 billion units, it was possible to collect and recycle a further 400 million cans in addition to the 21 billion recorded previously, according to a statement from the European Aluminium Association (EAA).
Traditionally, beverage can recycling rates differ significantly from country to country. Most of the Nordic nations have well-balanced deposit systems in place which generate high, stable recycling rates of around 90% while countries such as Belgium with well-managed, pre-sorted packaging collection schemes also record excellent results, notes the EAA. ‘However, some of these schemes need further improvement and should focus on a better sorting quality and include the collection of cans which are consumed out of home,’ states the association.
The EAA also strongly recommends that EU member states further improve their reporting of the recycled quantities of metal packaging – for example, by including the volumes which are collected outside regular schemes. Collection schemes in several countries in Central and Eastern Europe are run by the private sector, using the high scrap value of aluminium as the main driver, while an increasing number of countries also collect metals from the bottom ash of household waste incinerators. These fractions should be taken into account when reporting recycling figures, insists the EAA.
The aluminium industry and can manufacturers are aiming at an average European recycling rate of 75% in 2015 for all beverage cans.

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