Facts & figures

Facts about recycling rate

  • The recycling rate is for post-use aluminium packaging, as defined under EC packaging waste legislation.
  • The recycling rate does not include the recycling of production scraps (such as the metal left when round foil containers are stamped from the foil reel). Quantities available, together with aluminium's high value, mean that this metal will nearly always be returned for recycling.
  • The majority of aluminium packaging would be present in the domestic waste stream, if it were not diverted for recycling. Very little is available for collection through commercial waste systems.
  • The term 'recovery' denotes the recovery of energy from waste where these facilities exist in an incinerator plant. Thin, food contaminated foil left in the waste stream will oxidise in an incinerator, releasing energy with the calorific value of coal.

How much aluminium?

Nearly 5,000,000,000 alucans are available for recycling each year. Over 2,000,000,000 are already collected

The average annual consumption of alucans is 1.3kg per person or 3.2kg per household

The average annual consumption of recyclable alufoil is 1.1kg per household

The average availability of alucans per 100,000 population is 134 tonnes, worth up to Ł60,000

The average availability of alufoil per 100,000 population is 45 tonnes, worth around Ł15,000

Did you know?

  • A recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours
  • If all the aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK were recycled, there would be 14m fewer dustbins.
  • If all the aluminium drinks cans recycled in the UK last year were laid end to end, they would stretch from John O'Groats to Land's End 140 times.
  • Each ingot of aluminium produced from Alcan's closed-loop recycling plant at Warrington is 8 metres long and weighs 26 tonnes - enough to make 1.6m drinks cans.
  • If you had one aluminium-canned drink every day, it would take over 4,000 years to save enough cans to make one of these ingots.
  • SAS Airlines collect enough aluminium drinks cans off flights in a year to make ž of the metal needed to build a new McDonnell Douglas MD-90.