The International Recycling Tour of Every Can Counts took place in numerous European cities (with extraordinary stops also in Brazil and Colombia). One goal: to stimulate the collection and recycling of aluminium beverage cans consumed outdoors.
In Italy, the initiative stopped in Florence thanks to the joint commitment of CIAL – National Consortium of Aluminium Packaging, the Municipality of Florence and the Alia Servizi Ambientali SpA waste company.
From 3 to 5 June, 24 cities in no fewer than 17 European countries including Italy – with the addition of Brazil and Colombia as South American stages – * have joined the International Recycling Tour 2022, a circuit included in the “Every Can Counts” environmental awareness project (known in Italy as “Ogni Lattina Vale”), designed to stimulate the collection and recycling of aluminium beverage cans consumed “outside the home”
An initiative – with decidedly green outlines – organised in conjunction with the World Environment Day (5 June)
Florence was the Italian city involved in the Tour this year thanks to the joint commitment of CIAL – National Consortium of Aluminium Packaging, the Municipality of Florence and ALIA, the company that deals with the management of urban waste at local level. The hub of the initiative was San Donato Park, where a big installation of cans, depicting the Rainbow of Peace, served as a symbolic background for the initiative’s collection activities.
Equipped with can-collecting backpacks, throughout the three-day period, the project leaders encouraged citizens to keep public spaces clean and to respect the simple rules for proper waste disposal.
The results were truly record-breaking: in Florence, thousands of aluminium cans were used and delivered to recycling ambassadors, and thousands of people took photos in front of the iconic rainbow of cans. Here is a clear demonstration of how much every single small gesture made by each of us can really make a difference and contribute, in an effective way, to the great cause of environmental protection and respect.
“On the one hand, Environment Day gave us the opportunity to organise, for the second consecutive year, our campaign on the recycling of on-the-go beverage cans in more than 20 locations simultaneously. On the other hand, it served as a stage for us to communicate the results of our study on recycling habits in Europe,” claims David Van Heuverswyn, Director of Every Can Counts Europe.
“CIAL was born with the aim of starting the recovery, and consequential recycling, of aluminium packaging that has reached the end of its life cycle. In this perspective, independently or jointly with the Public Administration, it promotes actions and initiatives throughout the country aimed at raising public awareness of the importance of recycling aluminium, a precious raw material. There is no doubt that its recycling provides undisputed economic, social and environmental benefits. A 360° activity that has made it possible to reach and exceed the quantitative collection objectives set by European legislation, making Italy an example for all of Europe. This International Recycling Tour is a project that we fully embrace, perfectly in line with our mission,” stresses Carmine Bruno Rea, President of CIAL.
“Having represented Italy in an event at European level and beyond is a great recognition for Alia and for Florence, where the service is undergoing considerable changes and citizens are making a major effort, collecting about 49 tons of aluminium packaging out of a total of separate collections equal to approximately 120,000 tons,” commented the President of Alia Environmental Services and Revet, Nicola Ciolini. “It is important that we all do our part also in the correct separation of aluminium packaging, a material with a great storage capacity and, above all, recyclable indefinitely. Alia’s strategy sees quality separate collection as the first step to power the ‘recycling factories’ alongside investment in a modern facility network and the active involvement of citizens.”
“A circular city begins with each of us and with our daily actions. This was confirmed by the results of the first year of ‘Florence circular city’, which saw separate waste collection rise from 53% to 80% in the areas reached by the new plan. A result obtained above all thanks to the correct behaviour of citizens and the increasing sensitivity to environmental issues. For this reason, Cial’s campaign for the collection and recycling of cans outside the home represented a further step in promoting this commitment, with San Donato Park as the lively protagonist,” stated the Councillor for the Environment of the Municipality of Florence, Cecilia Del Re.
Recycling and separate collection: the Every Can Counts survey
Environmental protection is an increasingly felt issue on a global level. This is also confirmed by the survey on citizens’ habits regarding separate collection and recycling conducted at European level by Every Can Counts in 2021.
- The survey revealed that no fewer than 91% of European citizens are hoping for a greater and more widespread commitment to environmental protection. And the burden lies primarily with companies, which are being loudly asked to improve the recyclability of their packaging. 87% of respondents say companies should only use indefinitely recyclable packaging, while 89% agree that they should be held accountable for the packaging they place on the market.
- Recycling is hard work. And consumers would like more support. Among the more than 12,800 people interviewed across Europe, 52% said they always separate cans in their home waste. In Italy this percentage rises to 83% (always-often). However, waste separation rates drop dramatically when away from home. Only 33% of Europeans deposit their cans in separate collection containers when they are at work and only 30% when they are outdoors or in public places.
- It is therefore not surprising that the interviewees are asking for better and more widespread equipment for collection around the territory. 52% would like more containers in public areas and 50% are in favour of the implementation of security deposit systems (in Italy the latter percentage drops to 36% – it is the lowest value in Europe – because of the widespread perception of an efficient separate collection system).
- To support recycling efforts, 53% of European citizens want only 100% recyclable packaging to be used in their countries.
Lighter and lighter cans and recycling champions
The beverage can – made of 100% aluminium – is a familiar object. Suffice it to say that each Italian consumes an average of 36 each year. The numbers add up quickly: on an annual basis, around 2 billion cans are placed on the market nationwide. CIAL recycles 88% of them, which results in huge energy and material savings.
Thanks to continuous technological investments, cans have become lighter and lighter over time. And this has led to a progressive decrease in the material needed to produce them. Suffice it to say that, in the last 20 years, the weight of each can has dropped by 15%. Today a can weighs about 12.5 g.
Aluminium cans are the most recycled beverage packaging in the world. This is confirmed by a recent study by Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) which used global recycling data to calculate and compare the recyclability rates of the main containers.