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More effort needed to boost aluminium can recycling

Europe – Although the overall recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans in Europe is on the increase, more effort is necessary to reach the 80% recycling target set for 2020, insists Maarten Labberton, director of the European Aluminium Packaging Group.

There is a need, he says, for more efficient collection, sorting and recycling schemes in countries with a less developed recycling infrastructure. ‘These member states can learn from best practices in the most advanced countries and should adapt these to their specific needs,’ he states. ‘In addition, countries should improve existing producer responsibility schemes and move towards modern collection tools based on the scrap value of aluminium cans.’

Europe’s aluminium can recycling rate increased by 1.8 percentage points to a new record of 71.3% in 2013, says European Aluminium, the voice of Europe’s aluminium industry. Through its joint awareness programme with the can manufacturers, the so-called Every Can Counts initiative, the industry body is ‘successfully’ addressing the collection and recycling of ‘out-of-home’ cans, ie those generated in the workplace and at festivals or other outdoor events.

In 2015, Spain and Serbia joined Every Can Counts, and more countries are expected to adopt this model in the near future. Across the European continent, including other Eastern European countries, Russia and Turkey, some 28 billion cans or 400 000 tonnes have been recycled.

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