Additional written evidence from Alupro
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to give evidence at Wednesday’s evidence session on the “Next Steps for Deposit Return Schemes.” I thought that our session was extremely productive and covered a lot of ground with some notable areas of agreement between materials, which is encouraging.
I would like to clarify with the Committee two points on recycling figures, following comments in your second session by Reloop that the recycling and collection rates of aluminium are inaccurate, which has prompted this correspondence.
Reloop referenced that there are 8 billion drinks containers wasted every year in the UK - 3.2 billion are PET, 2.6 billion are aluminium and 1.4 billion containers are glass, which are falling outside current collection systems.
As I commented when meeting the committee, 76% is the latest available recycling rate (2019) for aluminium cans. This is the percentage of material that is truly recycled, and it is based on data published by the Environment Agency.
Whilst Reloop questioned this figure, it is actually in line with their own findings. If you back calculate the 2.6 billion figure quoted by Reloop from the UK market of around 10 billion, it gives you more or less the same recycling rate.
I would also like to reassure the committee that these are not “collected figures” – it is the percentage of material that is recycled. This data is reported by the Environment Agency based on PRN data and for aluminium this is counted/reported at the input to the recycling process. Moreover, the losses during the remelting process are minimal.
As noted during my evidence session, we want to achieve close to 100% recycling rate for aluminium packaging and we support a well-designed DRS to help the sector achieve this.
The design of the DRS must not jeopardise the existing high recycling rates already achieved for aluminium beverage cans, the most valuable material in any DRS. To help achieve higher recycling rates, a variable deposit should be introduced, which is successful in Nordic schemes. A variable rate deposit would also be less costly to operate and have a lower financial burden on producers.