Aluminium packaging in Italy: recycling now at 70%

The positive trend in aluminium waste separation and recycling continues.

CIAL 2019 figures published: recycling now at 70%  of the aluminium released on the market, improving all over the country.

CIAL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Milan, 26 June 2020 – With 51,400 tonnes of aluminium packaging recycled in 2019, representing 70% of the 73,400 tonnes sold on the market – plus 4,500 tonnes of thin packaging destined for waste-to-energy treatment – in 2019 Italy confirms its leading position in Europe in terms of production of recycled aluminium.

These are the key figures announced at the 2019 annual general meeting of the 246 member companies of CIAL – Consorzio Nazionale per il Recupero e il Riciclo degli Imballaggi in Alluminio, Italy’s National Consortium for the Collection and Recycling of Aluminium Packaging – held in Milan on 26 June.

This result, of vital importance a country whose aluminium production is 100% based on recycling, saved the equivalent of 381 thousand tonnes of CO2 in greenhouse gas emissions while saving energy equivalent to more than 164 thousand tonnes of oil, all made possible by the combined efforts of institutions, companies, dealers, citizens and municipalities.

5,406 municipalities (+232 over 2018) and approximately 46 million citizens contribute to separate collection of aluminium wastes in collaboration with CIAL, under the Anci-Conai Framework Agreement, all over the country.

These figures have permitted a 22.6% increase in separate collection managed by the Consortium in the past year. The figure is in line with the increases in the past few years (with 19% growth last year), demonstrating the increased efficiency of management services and selection and processing plants.

Achievement of a recycling percentage of 70% in 2019, in line with the trends in recent years and exceeding the targets for collection and recycling set by the new European circular economy directives, confirms that Italy’s national system for handling aluminium waste has reached a level of maturity and efficiency that will permit further increases in quality and quantity for the future, especially in territories where further growth is achievable,” CIAL President Bruno Rea stated during the meeting. “We are aware that the development process has reached the turning point, and the proof lies in the main regions of southern Italy, although admittedly not all of them: they have been performing better and better, and will soon be able to close the gap separating them from the most developed areas“.

“The commitment of CIAL in this field,” Rea continues, “has been translated into a type of personalized support that goes beyond merely providing economic bonuses and incentives for the material collected and conferred. The focus is rather to guarantee the identification and adoption of the best selection technologies to maximize the amount and quality of aluminium recovered. These are only a few of the ways CIAL has been working for years to reaffirm the commitment of citizens, municipalities and operators”.

“Another source of satisfaction,” concludes Rea, “is the commitment on the part of companies working in the industry, which, thanks to the ongoing improvements introduced by technological innovation – optimisation and reduction of weights and thicknesses, complete recyclability and growing use of recycled material – make aluminium packaging increasingly consistent with the principles of prevention and therefore with the policies and models of socio-economic growth of the Green Economy.”

Lastly, the general meeting approved an amendment to the Consortium’s Statute acknowledging the new requirements and changed scenario of recent months, in order to permit and encourage organisation of the administrative body’s work entirely in remote streaming mode.

* The types of aluminium packaging currently in use that can be infinitely recycled comprehend: beverage cans, tins and food trays, thin aluminium sheet, spray cans, tubes, caps and closures – all of these items, that are 100%, infinitely recyclable, find new life through recycling by becoming new aluminium with endless new uses. Today, 75% of all the aluminium ever produced in the world is still in use!

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CIAL figures and results for 2019

  • 246 companies in the consortium
  • More than 421 affiliated entities, 221 platforms and 12 smelting centres throughout the country ensure the collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of the aluminium.
  • 5,406 municipalities (over 68% of all active Italian municipalities) collaborate with CIAL in the separation of aluminium packaging waste, with 45.5 million citizens involved (75% of the Italian populations served).
  • 22.6% increase in separate waste collection compared to the previous year.
  • Quantity of aluminium packaging entering the Italian market: 73,400 tonnes.

Total recovery of aluminium packaging in Italy (recycling share + share of packaging sent for energy recovery): 55,900 tonnes.

  • Recycling: 51,400 tons of aluminium packaging, equivalent to 70% of market quantity
  • Energy recovery: 4,500 tons (share of thin packaging that goes to waste-to-energy plants)

The recycling of 51,400 tonnes of aluminium packaging avoided greenhouse emissions totalling 381 thousand tonnes of CO2 while saving energy equivalent to 164 thousand tonnes of oil.

Aluminium and Circular Economy

  • Aluminium is infinitely recyclable.
  • Aluminium recycling guarantees energy savings of 95%, comparing to traditional processes.
  • Today, 75% of all the aluminium ever produced in the world is still in use.
  • The highest amount of aluminium per capita in the world is recycled in Europe.
  • Today, Italian production is 100% based on recycling.
  • Italy ranks among the first in Europe for the amount of recycled aluminium produced.

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CIAL, the National Consortium for Aluminium Packaging, was founded in 1997 to foster the recycling and recovering of aluminium packaging at the end of its life cycle through separate waste collection by municipalities. The goal is to contribute to the recovery of a precious raw material, avoiding waste and protecting the environment. In this way, beverage cans, tins, trays, spray cans and thin aluminium sheet become fundamental and essential resources for sustainable and clean economic growth, just like the Italian recycling industry, which ranks among the top achievers in the world for its influential environmental performance. Respect for the environment, elimination of landfills and economic enhancement of reusable resources: these are some of the reasons why CIAL has been operating for 20 years in our country, for and on behalf of the companies in the consortium (producers and users of aluminium packaging, and recovery and recycling enterprises), promoting collection and recovery and raising awareness among millions of citizens in collaboration with public administrations.

Bruno Rea – CIAL President

Born in Naples in 1963, Carmine Bruno Rea holds a degree in Economics and Commerce and currently holds the post of Sales and Purchasing Manager of the Laminazione Sottile Group, an integrated group of eight companies specialising in aluminium processing which produce aluminium coils with a variety of forms, alloys and surface treatments, including painting and printing, as well as production of aluminium food trays.