A pile of aluminium, ready to be sorted and recycled

Which country recycles the most aluminium?

Aluminium is an extremely special metal – not only is it 100% recyclable, it takes up to 95% less energy to recycle it than it does to produce it from raw materials.

We’ve been specialising in recycling aluminium for more than 30 years now. On average, we recycle 25,000 tonnes of it every year. This equates to a staggering 115,000 tonnes over the last five years alone.

But while we may be recycling mountains of aluminium, in the form of extrusion and sheet offcuts from aluminium fabricators, mixed non-ferrous from merchants, councils and waste companies and UBC cans, we recognise our efforts form part of a much bigger, global picture. And it’s one we are incredibly proud to be contributing to.

Which country recycles the most aluminium?

Germany has been widely reported as being a leading example when it comes to recycling generally. The country has been hailed as having the highest recycling rate in the world, which has been linked to an overhaul of its overall waste management processes and policies in 1991.

Austria has also been recognised for its recycling efforts, with up to 54% of all waste being recycled. This figure is a result of a blanket ban on products with a total organic carbon emission rate of 5% or more ending up in the country’s landfill sites.

South Korea reportedly has a recycling rate of 53.7%, which has been achieved by waste being collected and recycled privately. (For more insight and the full list of recycling rates by country, visit: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/recycling-rates-by-country)

Meanwhile, Brazil hit the recycling headlines earlier this summer with reports of it becoming the first country in the world to achieve a 100% recycling rate for aluminum cans. To further add to this, the country’s scrap recovery percentage (55.4%) is reportedly among the highest in the world.

As for specifically recycling aluminium, data published on the National Packaging Waste Database by the Environment Agency, shows that aluminium packaging recycling volumes have continued to rise this year. During quarter one alone, 40,478 tonnes of aluminium packaging were collected for recycling, which represents a 14% year-on-year increase, with almost 30,000 tonnes being ‘actively’ recycled. So far this year, a total of 60,621 tonnes have been collected UK-wide, which equates to a 13% increase compared to the same period last year.

How much aluminium is recycled in the UK?

According to Recycle More, in the region of 9.591 billion aluminium drinks cans are produced in the UK, and 75% of them are recycled.

A close up of some drinks cans, ready to be recycled

From our perspective, we handle and recycle 500 tonnes of cans every month, that’s 6,000 tonnes a year.

Industry-wide, the vast majority of aluminium is still exported for recycling. Here at Alutrade, we’d like to think that by 2030, we will be keeping significantly more recycled aluminium in the UK. We currently only export around 35% and have our sights set on increasingly reducing this figure year-on-year.

Is aluminium really infinitely recyclable?

Yes, it really is. Given the fact it only uses up to 5% of the energy needed to produce it from raw products, aluminium doesn’t lose any of its properties, so can be recycled time-and-again and retain its quality and purity. Glass is the only other material that can be infinitely recycled.

For more information or to discuss your aluminium recycling requirements with us, email our Commercial Manager, Ed George, at ed.george@alutrade.co.uk