Huge Increase in Metals Being Recycled in Orkney

News from Orkney Islands Council

The Recycling of metal packaging by householders in Orkney has risen by 19.4% over the last 18 months.

‘MetalMatters’ was launched during Recycle Week in September 2017 in conjunction with not-for-profit organisation Alupro, who work to fulfil the aluminium packaging industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging.

It saw the introduction of a wider range of metals that could be recycled in Orkney, along with a publicity campaign supported by Alupro to raise awareness of the range of metals accepted, and the benefits of increasing metals recycling.

The increased rate has been calculated by looking at metal recycling figures between September 2017 when the Council first launched it’s ‘MetalMatters’ campaign, through to January 2019.

The biggest increase has been at the Council’s Household Waste and Recycling Centres, where the amount of metal collected increased by 44.5% (by weight), while metal put out for kerbside collections increased by 19.4% in the same period.

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro, said:

“Orkney is the only island group working with us on a Metal Matters campaign. Given the small population and the logistical issues that come with a remote island location, it really is incredible just how much Orkney householders and the Council have managed to increased metal recycling rates.

“Households who recycle their metals are not only helping to offset waste disposal costs through the sale of these metals for recycling, they are also reducing the demand for newly extracted metal and the associated environmental costs.”

Louise Anderson, the Council’s Waste and Recycling Officer, said:

“While clearly we have many dedicated recyclers here in Orkney, we know from waste sampling and from speaking to the public that we can do better – for example, many folk are still not aware that you can recycle aerosols, aluminium foil and foil trays in your kerbside recycling. We’ll continue to encourage people to make more of their metals matter over coming months.

“Meantime we’d thank everyone for their efforts over the last 18 months in boosting our metal capture rates and helping make sure the metal packaging we send south for reprocessing is clean, free of unwanted items and attractive to the market.”

What to Recycle

recycling in Orkney

Make metals matter

Below are some handy tips for householders on what metal packaging they can recycle, and how to help ensure your recycling can be accepted:

  • Yes please: Food cans/tins, drink cans/tins, aluminium foil, aerosol cans, metal lids from jars/bottles, foil trays, lids and food wrappers (all clean and empty).
  • No Thanks: Paint/petrol cans.

Please rinse, do not crush or pierce, place can tops inside cans and remove labels.

Good reasons to recycle metal packaging:

Reason 1: Aluminium can be recycled infinitely – it never loses its quality.

Reason 2: Used aluminium cans can be recycled and back on the shelves in as little as 60 days. However, if a can goes to landfill it will stay there for 500 years.

Reason 3: It just makes sense – producing a can from recycled material uses 95% less energy than making it from scratch.

Reason 4: 75% of the metal ever made is still in use today.

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