The attention on packaging’s environmental impact has markedly heightened in recent months, putting increasing pressure on governments, brands and retailers to act. Media coverage has been predominantly focused on the marine impact of single use plastics, including plastic bottles, and as a result this has put pressure on other drinks packaging formats too. It gets overlooked, surprisingly often, that there is already a ready-made solution for many drinks to switch to. It’s called the drinks can. The Can Makers says the drinks can is the perfect example of the circular economy already in action, pointing out that when an aluminium can reaches the end of its useful life, the material is never lost. It’s simply collected and recycled, over and over, with no loss of its inherent properties or quality, there’s no need to add virgin raw materials. Up to 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today. The European Commission’s Circular Economy Package (CEP) sets common targets to increase recycling to prevent valuable resources from being lost in the recycling loop. It has set an overall packaging waste recycling target of 75% by 2030 and an aluminium packaging recycling target of 85% by 2030 to help drive the circular economy. The UK Government outlined new targets in 2017 for aluminium, challenging businesses to achieve 64% by 2020. Aluminium drinks cans already contribute significantly to this overall recycling target. 72% of all drinks cans were recycled in the UK in 2017.
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