Research commissioned by The Can Makers reveals that, once the UK public are aware of the recyclability of aluminium drinks cans, they are far more likely to make different choices when it comes to their choice of drinks packaging.
Aluminium, like all metals, is a permanent material, which means it can be recycled forever without any loss of quality. However, consumers are unaware of this fact, with over 30% believing that aluminium drinks cans cannot be recycled more than nine times. A further 32% are unaware how many times an aluminium can is able to be recycled.
Younger consumers, between the ages of 16 and 34, are more likely to think that they know how many times an aluminium drink can is able to be recycled. However, they are also the most likely to be wrong, with only 12% of them correctly knowing aluminium cans can be recycled infinitely.
When given the correct information that aluminium cans are infinitely recyclable, the impact on consumer behaviour is considerable. Half of consumers (49%) would be more likely to choose an aluminium drinks can over a plastic bottle, whilst a quarter (27%) would be more likely to choose a drinks can over a glass bottle.
Margaret Bates, Professor of Sustainable Wastes Management at Northampton University, said: “The results just go to show how much confusion is out there, even with aluminium cans where recycling is so well established and the environmental benefits so clear. People want to make the right decisions and with the right information they can really take recycling into their own hands”.
People want to make the right decisions and with the right information they can really take recycling into their own hands
Marcel Arsand, Chairman of the Can Makers, said: “Around the UK, Recycling Week is calling on people to take recycling into their own hands and recycle more. Not only are aluminium cans infinitely recyclable, it only takes 60 days for a used can to be back on the shelves. There is also robust recycling infrastructure already in place to easily recycle cans. These results clearly show how important it is that the UK public is made more aware of the recyclability of aluminium cans and the positive impact this will have on moving to a sustainable circular economy for drinks packaging in the UK.”