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Can cut can count

13 March 2012

Every Can Counts, the away from home drinks can recycling programme, has revealed that it helped collect 51 million used beverage cans from workplaces and ‘on the go’ locations across the UK in 2011. This equates to 774 tonnes of aluminium and steel collected and around 5,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions saved as a result of the programme.

Every Can Counts, which is funded by a partnership comprising UK and European drinks can manufacturers, the aluminium and steel packaging and recycling industries, and energy drinks brand Red Bull, announced the results to mark the third anniversary of the programme’s launch.

On average each employee at workplaces registered with the programme recycled five cans per month, which represents a year on year increase in workplace recycling performance of 25 percent. The programme has also developed a viable model for drinks can recycling at outdoor events. Around 1 million drinks cans, which equates to nearly 15 tonnes of aluminium and steel, were collected by Every Can Counts across ten music festivals in 2011. To date, nearly 700 organisations around the UK are registered with the programme, with almost 5,000 Every Can Counts branded collection points at over 1,900 individual sites.

Originally launched as a trial programme to test the barriers and drivers to successful recycling outside the home, Every Can Counts has now established a model to help organisations that are working towards sustainability objectives, such as zero waste to landfill. The programme was cited as an example of best practice in the Government Review of Waste Policy in England 2011.

With a name and brand identity that works well in any language, the Every Can Counts programme has also now been successfully replicated in France, Austria, Romania and Hungary, with more European markets looking to follow suit.

Rick Hindley, director of Every Can Counts commented, “The 2011 results confirm that we have established a successful model for encouraging recycling outside the home. However this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we are constantly on the look-out for new ways to help businesses that want recycle more, as it’s important to keep testing, refining and innovating. We have some exciting plans in preparation for 2012, which we hope will keep us at the forefront of developments in this challenging area.

“The development of new Every Can Counts-branded programmes in Europe is very exciting, as it offers us a unique opportunity to promote can recycling under a single ‘brand’ identity across a wide market. And it offers our programme partners a great platform for demonstrating extended producer responsibility and making an impact on recycling rates across the EU.”

Around 30% of the 9.5 billion cans sold every year are consumed outside the home; mainly in workplaces and whilst ‘on the go’, so they do not get picked up for recycling through local authority collections for domestic waste. Every Can Counts addresses this gap by helping organisations to set up and promote recycling schemes to staff and customers. Results from participating organisations also show that, although the programme targets drinks cans, volumes of other recyclables increase as a result of using Every Can Counts branded resources.

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