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Yule be shocked! Over 3000 tonnes of aluminium will end up in landfill this Christmas

Packaging Solutions Green Solutions

The Co-op has launched a campaign to foil tonnes of aluminium, including Christmas mince pie wrappers, getting binned unnecessarily in landfill.

Research by the Co-op has revealed that more than one in five (22%) UK adults do not recycle household aluminium and it is estimated that over 3000 tonnes could end up in landfill this Christmas.

In the UK alone, we are expected to consume 378 million mince pies over the festive period, with around 378 tonnes of aluminium packaging used to bake and package the festive favourite. And almost a quarter of the aluminium packing will not be recycled correctly. This is because shoppers unwittingly dispose of foil and aluminium products in general household waste when it can be recycled. However, the Co-op has found that one in five local authorities do not accept aluminium foil in their recycling schemes yet 81% of consumers said they would recycle aluminium if they could.

Each year it is estimated that household uses 144 metres of kitchen foil wraps per year (15,000 tonnes) and 182 foil containers (20,000 tonnes). And a fifth of this is unnecessarily going to landfill.

Currently 18 per cent of local authorities do not accept aluminium foil, yet all of the councils have an aluminium food can and glass bottle collection in place. The process to collect aluminium foil is the same as these other materials at kerbside collection and if the foil has been rinsed out, the packaging can be recycled.

Michael Fletcher, chief commercial officer at Co-op, said: ‘How we do business really matters. The world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future.

‘We are committed in helping our members and customers to make environmentally friendly choices and reducing the environmental impact of products is and always has been at the core of Co-op. That is why we are writing to local authorities to encourage them to collect such simple items as part of collections they already have in place.’

Recycling one tonne of aluminium saves nine tonnes of C02 emissions. Aluminium can be endlessly recycled, without losing quality and takes as little as eight weeks to be recycled and be back on the supermarket shelf. What is more, recycling aluminium saves up to 95% of the energy it takes to make both aluminium from raw materials meaning it is much more energy efficient than producing from virgin materials.

Rick Hindley, executive director of Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), said: ‘We are delighted that Co-op is shining a light on the importance of recycling this valuable material. So many festive food products are packaged in aluminium, and it is unthinkable that some of it may end up in the rubbish bin when it can be collected in kerbside recycling. Aluminium is endlessly recyclable with no loss of quality, and most importantly, aluminium packaging placed in a recycling bin is recycled – it is real recycling in action.’

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