The UK’s aluminium packaging recycling rate soared to an impressive 68% in 2023, according to data published by the Environment Agency on the National Packaging Waste Database. 

During the year, 162,357 tonnes (t) of aluminium packaging were recycled across the country, with beverage cans leading the way with an 81% recycling rate. 

The annual data also indicates robust growth in the domestic market for aluminium packaging.  

Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) executive director Tom Giddings said: “I’m delighted to announce record-breaking recycling volumes for 2023. While more aluminium packaging was placed on the domestic market than last year, it’s pleasing to see that recycling rates have more than kept up with pace. 

“As an industry, we’ve been investing heavily in optimising our collection and recycling infrastructure for the past 20 years and we’re now reaping the rewards of this long-term commitment. Despite ongoing delays and uncertainty surrounding proposed changes to national recycling legislation, the sector is continuing to deliver over and above annual targets.” 

Alupro is an industry-funded nonprofit representing the UK’s aluminium packaging industry. 

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The data also revealed that collections through kerbside, bring, and on-the-go systems reached 115,382t in 2023, a 13% increase from the previous year’s figure of 102,195t. 

In addition, the tonnage of aluminium recovered from incinerator bottom ash rose by 17% to 45,632t in 2023, compared to 38,982t in the preceding year. 

Giddings added: “Aluminium is quickly becoming a material of choice for many brands, hence the growth of the domestic market. Alongside boasting a wide range of superior benefits for packaging applications, it’s a safe material to work with from a sustainability perspective.”