Beverage Cans Strive for 100% Recycling in Europe in Within a Decade

A person off-screen holds a smartphone with a green recycling icon.
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Earlier this year, European Aluminium and Metal Packaging Europe (MPE) launched a joint Roadmap to move toward achieving 100% aluminum beverage can recycling in Europe by 2030. While the record recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans sits at an impressive 76.1% in Europe¹, the industry recognizes that there is more work to do.

Achieving the ambitious goal of a 100% real recycling rate in the next ten years will require close collaboration between aluminum sheet producers, can manufacturers, recycling facilities and consumers. Each party can join the pledge to the Roadmap and encourage their peers and communities to do more on the journey to accelerate sustainability. 

Our commitment toward achieving this goal is reflected in our own ambitious Twentyby30 program. The main components of our Twentyby30 initiative that cover recycling focus on two objectives: to raise recycling rates in our major markets, and as a result, to improve recycled content averages in our products. We are already working toward those goals by collaborating with our suppliers, customers and other industry partners and establishing greater incentives for more effective recycling. We are also investing in consumer education around recycling so that more used packaging can be recovered and repurposed. That work extends to Europe, where we are collaborating with organizations like Every Can Counts. Consumers play a critical role when it comes to recycling, and it is the responsibility of the metal packaging industry to do everything it can to inspire, encourage and empower them to follow through with it at every opportunity.

Our strong belief is that metal continues to provide a flexible, versatile and convenient solution that enables brands to offer their increasingly sustainable products in an equally sustainable package. Yet, because consumers are often unaware of proper recycling measures or assume their recycled goods still end up in landfills and therefore don’t recycle properly, metal has not reached its full potential for recycling efficacy. We are focused on helping consumers understand that with metal packaging, every can that is recovered is able to and will be transformed into another product. If consumers can support more successful aluminum recovery, they can have a tremendous impact on resource preservation and reuse. That’s a mission we know people want to get behind, so we’re working to make it as easy, accessible and practical as we can.

¹Aluminium beverage can recycling in Europe hits record 76.1% in 2018, Metal Packaging Europe & European Aluminium, December 2020