Alupro calls on government to secure an aluminium-friendly DRS


This week (11 April), the 29 members of Alupro sent a joint letter to Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey calling for immediate government action to ensure that a deposit return scheme (DRS) is aluminium-friendly.

The letter calls on the government to ensure the DRS across England, Wales and Northern Ireland further enhances aluminium recycling rates without compromising the market.

Alupro represents businesses that work to fulfil the industry’s obligation to meet and exceed recycling targets for aluminium packaging. The organisation says that any new legislation must be well designed to avoid the market being damaged for the most circular packaging materials.

Alupro is concerned that the DRS being implemented in Scotland will damage the aluminium market and incentivise the purchase of more large-volume PET bottles. Following the government’s recent consultation response, Alupro members remain concerned and are “adamant” that immediate action and collaborative thinking are needed to ensure any DRS is “fair, equitable and effective”.

Tom Giddings, executive director of Alupro, commented: “From an aluminium perspective, whilst we welcome the publication of the government’s response, we were disappointed by several elements of it – particularly the decision to exclude glass bottles despite widespread support for a scheme including them evident from the government’s analysis of consultation responses.

“A DRS is already a challenging initiative to implement effectively without compromising market growth and dynamics, and this decision, in particular, accentuates the situation. Additionally, we urge the government to publish its impact assessment urgently to allow proper scrutiny of the decisions taken to date.

We urge the government to publish its impact assessment urgently to allow proper scrutiny of the decisions taken to date.

“As such, we have outlined four key priorities which must be implemented in the next stage of the scheme’s development to ensure it supports the thriving aluminium packaging and recycling sector.”

The four key priorities are, firstly, a variable rate of deposit based on container volume, which Giddings says is essential for a successful DRS that maximises environmental impact and minimises “economic harm” to industry.

Alupro’s second priority is a “fair and level” playing field for all competing materials. Giddings says that while the decision has already been made to exclude glass beverage containers from the scope of DRS, the material should still be subject to equal collection and recycling targets under EPR (extended producer responsibility).

The third priority is the DRS should promote the development of a circular economy by facilitating the recycling of packaging. Giddings continues that aluminium collected through the scheme should be returned to the packaging system as is the case currently.

The final priority is the scheme should encourage widespread consumer participation, which Alurpo says will be crucial to maximising recycling rates.

Giddings concludes: “The UK government should ask applicants for the scheme administrator role to clearly demonstrate their approach to promoting the scheme and working with providers, like Alupro, who can share their expertise.”

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