168,000 tonnes of aluminium was used in packaging in the UK in 2014

  • Over 99% of aluminium packaging is primary consumer packaging, from the highly visible drinks can or takeaway container, through to the foil which wraps a bite-size chocolate, or the lid on a pot of yogurt.
  • The most popular aluminium package is the drinks can – most of the drinks cans sold in the UK are made of aluminium.
  • All plain or lacquered aluminium is endlessly recyclable – time and time again.
  • Ample reprocessing capacity and secure end-markets are available: In the UK a closed loop operates for drinks cans, which can be recycled, made into new cans, filled and put back on the shelf in just eight weeks. Other plain aluminium packaging is recycled with mixed aluminium scraps and turned into a wide range of products.
  • Most aluminium in composite packs will not currently be recycled, because the pack will have been sent for recycling to the reprocessor of the predominant material: for example drinks cartons containing a thin barrier layer of foil will usually go to the paper industry, and aluminium caps on glass bottles will go to the glass industry. However if the aluminium is separated during reprocessing, it can certainly be recycled.
  • 73,000 tonnes of aluminium packaging was recycled in 2014, and 75% of that material was reprocessed in the UK
  • In 2014 the UK recycling rate for aluminium packaging was 48% and the recycling rate for aluminium drinks cans was 65%
The aluminium industry and sustainability

Further reading