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Targets To Change For Metal Recycling Companies


 Defra is in discussion with UK metal recycling companies to start research into the amount of metal packaging that is put onto the UK market. 


‘MetalFlow’ Research To Be Considered


The review of metal recycling targets in the UK is to confirm that the current estimates for aluminium and steel recycling rates are accurate. It is imperative that these figures are accurate as UK and EU targets for metal recycling companies are set on the basis of these figures. It is understood that more than 20 representatives from the metal industry have been invited to join in discussions with Defra. 


According to, the MetalFlow report could mirror the research set out in the GlassFlow report. This study on the glass market was conducted by Valpak and WRAP, whereby members across the supply and recycling chain were consulted in order to obtain an accurate representation of the glass packaging industry. This was published on October 2013. In the GlassFlow report, it was suggested that the recycling figure had been over estimated, leading to Defra reducing the targets for the glass recycling sector. 


A similar report was also commissioned by the British Plastics Federation, indicating that the amount of plastic packaging put onto the market was also over estimated. This report was conducted by 360 Environmental using data analysed from the National Packaging Waste Database. 


What Is The Current State Of Metal Recycling


In 2008, the demand for aluminium worldwide was 47 million tonnes. This was met by 37 million tonnes of new aluminium and 10 million tonnes of scrap. Similarly, 139.8 million tonnes of steel was produced, met by 80.9 million tonnes of scrap. 


Every 20 minutes, we create enough scrap metal waste to equal the weight of the Angel of the North


At present, the UKs target for metal recycling companies is 40% for aluminium and 71% for steel. To improve the environmental performance of metals, metal recycling companies will need to enhance collection and recovery at the end of life. It is imperative for every effort to be made to collect and sort used metals ready for the next product loop. 


Currently, the building and transport sector are achieving some of the highest recycling rates. Setting the benchmark, they have metal recycling rates well above 90%. To further improve on this, the metal packaging industry has instigated initiatives and taken on commitments to achieve a 75% recycling target for items such as beverage cans in 2015. 


  • UK steel can recycling rate – 62%

  • UK steel can recycling rate target – 68%

  • UK aluminium recycling rate for cans 55%

  • Average European aluminium can recycling rate 63%

  • Average European steel can recycling rate – 70%


Commercial Metal Recycling Solutions From Recycling Services


To ensure your business is making the most out of your valuable metal waste, talk to the experts at Recycling Services. We can arrange for metal recycling collections and make sure you businesses is adhering to the UK and EU recycling targets. 


For more information call on 01952 204471 or email 


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