Making Every Can Count: a regional approach to increasing recycling rates
This week, the EU celebrates Green Week, as part of its programme of activities for the European Week of Regions and Cities. The initiative aims to help raise awareness of positive regional initiatives and share good practice. And what better way to celebrate than to showcase some examples from the metal packaging industry?
One of the aspects in which metal packaging excels is its infinite recyclability. Once used, metal packaging can be recycled over and over again without loss of quality, making it an excellent contributor to the circular economy. Achieving the full sustainability potential of metal packaging, however, depends on maintaining and improving already high recycling rates. That means making sure people put their used metal packaging in the right bin.
“Aluminium is a permanent material that can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing its properties,” says Every Can Counts Europe Director, David Van Heuverswyn. “Although the final 2018 recycling rates for aluminium cans have not been released yet, we believe they will be higher across Europe, as we work with municipalities and other stakeholders to grow the network of metal recycling bins.”
With a presence in 19 countries across the EU, Every Can Counts are experts in promoting the message of infinite recyclability at city and regional levels. Established in 2009, the initiative aims to inspire us all to help make a difference by recycling our aluminium drink cans, whether at home, in the office or on the go.
“The fact the overall European recycling rate continues to climb is certainly positive, but we want to achieve 100% of all cans being recycled, and we work with festival and event organisers, beverage brands, sports clubs, and producers to make that vision a reality,” says David.
Just one example of this is the recent Every Can Counts campaign in Brighton, in the UK, where they partnered with Brighton and Hove City Council to construct a giant rainbow archway made of two thousand recycled drink cans. The aim was to pay tribute to key workers during the coronavirus pandemic, while raising awareness about the infinite recyclability of aluminium drink cans and the importance of putting cans in the right bin.
Similar initiatives have also taken place in recent months in Brussels, on the beaches of Spain, in the parks of Vienna and even during the Tour de France.
Though the coronavirus pandemic may have put a stop to some of their more usual activities at events and festivals, it has far from dampened their enthusiasm or creativity, with many innovative online initiatives aimed at increasing recycling rates taking their place. And with a busy and ever-evolving calendar of projects planned across their regional offices, you never know, they could be visiting your city next.
In the meantime, #KeepTheCycleGoing by always putting your metal packaging in the right bin!