It is robust but ductile, resistant but malleable, beautiful to look at and durable over time: but above all aluminum is a material in all respects permanent and infinitely recyclable, being able to preserve its structural properties forever. A feature that makes the goal achieved by Italy even more important where well 90.4% of the aluminum beverage cans placed on the market are now recycled. This was revealed by CIAL, the National Consortium that has been promoting the collection, recycling and recovery of aluminum packaging in our country for around 25 years. As in the rest of the world, even in Italy the aluminum can is the most recycled beverage container ever (WATCH THE VIDEO).
The data highlights the validity and effectiveness of the national separate collection modelcapable of achieving results in line with – or even superior to – those of the countries that have adopted the deposit system, which provides for the payment by the consumer of a small additional sum to the price of the product, repayable upon return of the ‘packaging.
Under the hat of the European program ‘Every can count‘ (brought by the Consortium to Italy under the name of ‘Every can counts”), joined today by 19 European countries that promote 360° can recycling, Cial has for some time shared a roadmap with producers and the main European aluminum packaging associations to achieve the goal of 100% recycling of beverage cans by 2030. To this end, the Consortium has implemented the collection dedicated only to beverage cans which, alongside the traditional separate collection, guarantees their recovery in the places of greatest consumption, with a sustainable action strategy in environmental, social and economic terms. An example above all is the collection of cans started in 2007 on board the ships of some of the most important cruise companies.
The Italian aluminum packaging supply chain is at the forefront in Europe and has long exceeded the objectives established at EU level. In fact, our country has one of the highest recycling rates at the lowest possible costs. It is no coincidence that the environmental contribution paid by companies to encourage the collection and recycling of aluminum packaging is, at 7 Euros per ton, the lowest in Europe.
But the Bel Paese is an excellence in the recycling of aluminum in general, not just cans: in fact, cans, trays, tins, trays, thin foil, tubes, caps and closures are also recovered and recycled. With 52,900 tonnes of aluminum packaging recycled in 2021, equal to 67.5% of the total 78,400 tonnes placed on the market – to which must be added 3,700 tonnes of thin packaging destined for waste-to-energy – Italy is confirmed once again for 2021 among the leaders in European level for the quantity of recycled aluminum produced.
In particular, today there are 5,638 Municipalities and about 47 million citizens active in the separate collection of aluminum with which Cial collaborates, within the context of the Anci-Conai Framework Agreement, throughout the country. Numbers that have made it possible to maintain the positive trend of separate waste collection managed by the Consortium in recent years, with an increase, in 2021, of both input (+11.4%) and recycled quantities (+11.6%).
“Our country – commented the president of Cial Carmine Bruno Rea during the Assembly – with a recycling rate of 67.5%, in line with the values of recent years, has not only achieved and exceeded the 2025 and 2030 objectives some time ago, but also ranks among the first in Europe with almost 10 percentage points above the average of the other countries. This is a very important result that demonstrates the validity and effectiveness of the national packaging waste management system based on a solid and consolidated collaboration between the public and private sectors. One of the most important tools, in fact, which ensured that the system worked successfully, efficiently and effectively – continued President Rea – is theAnci-Conai-CIAL Framework Agreement, with growing results and performances and in line with the best European standards. The national framework agreement confirms the importance of CIAL’s subsidiary vocation to the market and its strong commitment to a correct and fluid management of packaging waste within a constantly evolving regulatory framework and in a historical moment characterized by great uncertainties on the commodity market. In 2021 our Consortium, on the basis of the Anci-Conai-CIAL framework agreement and a quality reward system, modulated on the trend of the aluminum market – concluded Rea – awarded the Italian municipalities affiliated with CIAL about 11 million EUR.”
The management system for the related packaging waste is today an essential component of the Italian aluminum industry, which is characterized by a production now based 100% on recycling. A true reference model throughout the world, consistent with the principles of the circular economy. In the last three years, thanks to the recycling of 151,700 tons of aluminum packaging, greenhouse emissions equal to 1,107 thousand tons of CO2 have been avoided and energy saved for over 476 thousand tons of oil equivalent.
In the last 20 years, the aluminum packaging sector in Italy and in the world has been characterized by constant evolution in terms of the environment. An example can serve to make the idea. Thanks to research and technological development, the weight of a 33 cl beverage can has gone from 14 grams in 2000 to 12.2 grams today, a drop of 12%. It may seem little, but in reality for the protection of the environment, they are ‘very heavy’ grams which, multiplied by the millions of cans produced each year, are transformed into tons saved in the production phase.