Businesses told to recycle it – not can it

They can be recycled over and over again and are already the world's most recycled drinks packaging item - but many steel and aluminium cans used outside of the home are not being recycled.

About 30% of the 8bn drinks cans sold in the UK each year are consumed at work or in public places where there are often no facilities to recycle them.

It is a problem that is worrying the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro) so much that it has launched a new programme, Every Can Counts, to help employers set up and promote drinks recycling within their organisations.

It follows successful pilot schemes run with energy supplier npower at its offices and with drinks company Stella Artois at university campuses.

Several waste collection firms, including Biffa and Severnside Recycling, have already joined the scheme in its initial focus area of the West Midlands, where Alupro hopes to establish a best practice model to roll out nationwide.

It is hoped that if more waste collection firms sign up, the scheme – which is funded by Alupro members, can manufacturers, aluminium recycler Novelis and WRAP – can be expanded to all areas of the country.

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro, said that a number of factors such as increasing landfill prices, new regulations on commercial waste, and greater public interest in recycling meant the time was now ripe for businesses to focus on cans.

He told edie: “Before, the economics haven’t really stacked up, but now we are at a point where it does make economic sense and now there’s a willingness from companies and employees to do it.”

One of the most important elements of the programme is the communications campaigns that companies are encouraged to adopt to tell employees how to recycle and what difference their hard work is making.

Mr Hindley said: “The energy saved by recycling one can is enough to run your computer for one hour. That’s a fact that really means something to someone working in an office.”

More information about the campaign can be found here.

Kate Martin

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