6 November 2023
by Alex Brinded

Deposit return schemes can boost aluminium recycling

Aluminium trade bodies support conventional deposit return scheme but eschew digital varieties.

© Ambo Ampeng / unsplash

Aluminium drinks cans are currently recycled at a rate of 82% but could be 100% with a well-designed deposit return scheme (DRS), say industry bodies.

The statement has been signed by the heads of  Aluminium packaging membership organisation Alupro, the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association and the Can Makers Committee.

The three aluminium organisations say that recycling all cans by 2030 is achievable with a DRS similar to those in Denmark and Finland, and not a digital DRS.

The statement extols the value of DRS which are based on a 'return-to-retail' structure and return vending machines.

However, they do not support a digital DRS (DDRS) where deposits can be redeemed by scanning container codes which are recycled through existing recycling systems.

The industry bodies say that conventional DRS' schemes not only tackle litter and deliver ever-higher collection rates for cans but typically guarantee higher quality feedstock for recycling.

They say that a DDRS cannot be facilitated by the packaging and supply chain and that it is not as effective as a standard DRS at improving packaging sustainability and recycling rates.

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Alex Brinded

Staff Writer