Last year in the UK, 68% of all aluminium packaging placed on the market was recycled*. From beverage cans and foil trays, to wrapping foil, caps, closures and tubes, Brits are becoming more committed than ever to doing their bit for the environment and, as such, our aluminium packaging recycling rate continues to climb.
But what happens to your used packaging after you rinse, sort and separate it for recycling? Well, put simply, it is collected, sorted, shredded, cleaned, melted and then cast into large ingots ready to be turned into aluminium packaging once again. While it may sound complex, the whole process takes just eight weeks – returned to the supermarket shelves and ready to use again.
So, what makes aluminium such a good packaging material in the first place? Furthermore, why is it so important to recycle your used packaging rather than just throwing it away?
It’s great for protecting goods
Aluminium is the perfect material choice for so many different packaging applications. It’s strong, lightweight, easy to form, doesn’t damage easily in transit and – from a branding perspective – is completely customisable.
Whether packaging food and drink, beauty products or pharmaceuticals, it’ll keep your products safe and protected for years to come.
It’s infinitely recyclable
According to Recycle Now, more than 75% of all the aluminium ever made is still in circulation today. Indeed, it can be melted down and used again and again without losing any of its properties – infinitely recyclable!
So, the next time you think about throwing away your empty drink can, just remember that what you may consider rubbish today could be recycled into a valuable product tomorrow.
It’s easy to separate
We get it – It’s not always easy to recycle. From identifying whether or not your packaging can actually be recycled in the first place, to working out which bin, bag or box it should be placed in, the whole process can be complex!
With aluminium, however, it’s much more straightforward. Simply rinse or wipe away any food residue from your cans, containers and foil and ensure your aerosols are empty, then place them in your kerbside recycling container. No hassle, no mess, no risk of contamination.
It prevents the consumption of raw materials
Compared to making new packaging from virgin resources, recycling and reprocessing used packaging reduces energy consumption by up to 95%. As an infinitely recyclable material, aluminium is therefore hugely resource efficient and highly sustainable.
So, while countless initiatives are underway to reduce our reliance on single-use solutions, aluminium remains the circular, easy to recycle packaging option.
It’s perfect for almost every application
Unlike some packaging solutions that require intricate design or multiple materials to provide the structure and protection required, aluminium is strong enough, durable enough and flexible enough to be used in almost every packaging application.
From drink cans and foil trays, to wrapping foil, caps, closures and tubes, there’s not many packaging types that aluminium doesn’t excel in. What’s more, you get the same benefits every time – unbeatable performance and a low environmental footprint.
With so many positive qualities, aluminium really is the perfect packaging material. From shelf to shelf in eight weeks – it makes complete environmental sense!
For more information about Alupro, or its latest information and education campaigns, visit www.alupro.org.uk.