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Metal packaging recycling: canny facts

A man putting a drinks can in a recycling box.Food and drink cans

  • 15 billion cans are sold in the UK every year – that’s 246 cans for every man, woman and child living in the UK (source: Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association).
  • The average household uses 600 food cans and 380 drinks cans each year – each one is endlessly recyclable, over and over again into any type of metal product. From a paper clip to a car engine component, an iron to a washing machine or another food or drinks can!
  • The drinks can is the world’s most recycled packaging container.
  • 7 billion drinks cans are sold in the UK each year. (source: UK Can Makers, 2014).
  • The empty drinks can you recycle could be back on sale in just 60 days.

Foil trays

  • An estimated 16,000 tonnes of foil containers are used each year for packaging products like ready meals, pies and quiches and take aways.
  • The average household uses 182 foil trays each year.

Household foil

  • Households in the UK use an average of 12 metres of household foil per month.
  • Every year 57 million packs of household foil are bought in the UK.
  • Britain uses over 425,000 miles of household foil every year - that'll take you around the world 17 times!
  • Annually, UK consumers buy enough foil to wrap over 29 million chickens.

Aerosols

(source: BAMA)

  • 580 million aerosols are used in the UK every year.
    • Over half are used in ‘personal care’ products, for example, deodorant, body sprays, hair and shaving products.
    • The average household uses 27 aerosols each year.
      • That’s 10 per person per year.

Aluminium and steel recycling

  • Recycling a tonne of steel saves 1.5 tonnes of iron ore and reduces CO2 emissions by 80%, compared to making the metal from raw materials.
  • Recycling a tonne of aluminium saves 9 tonnes of C02 emissions (1 tonne of CO₂ is equivalent to driving nearly 3,000 miles) and 4 tonnes of bauxite – the raw material from which aluminium is made.
  • Aluminium and steel can be recycled endlessly, without losing quality. It can take as little as eight weeks for a drink can to be recycled and back on the supermarket shelf as new can.

Saving energy, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and natural resources

  • Recycling a tonne of steel saves 1.5 tonnes of iron ore and reduces CO2 emissions by 80%.
  • Recycling a tonne of aluminium saves 9 tonnes of C02 emissions and 4 tonnes of bauxite – the raw material from which aluminium is made.
  • Recycling cans saves up to 95% of the energy it takes to make both aluminium and steel from raw materials. 
  • Making aluminium cans from recycled metal is 20 times more energy efficient than using 'primary' metal (i.e. made from raw materials).

For more information and facts check out these websites:

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