As the primary production of aluminium is very energy-intensive, the recycling of aluminium products is saving energy: aluminium recycling processes only need 5 % of the energy compared to primary production. According to the European Aluminium Association (EAA) approx. 68% of all aluminium beverage cans were recycled in 2011 – this corresponds to 25 billion cans. In the context of future recycling targets set out by the European Union, the EAA is seeking for options on how to include potential informal sector diversion of aluminium beverage packaging into formal recycling initiatives.
The goals of the proposed study were:
- to develop a methodology to estimate the dimension of informal activities in the sector of aluminium beverage packaging;
- to develop key performance indicators of the informal sector in selected Eastern European cities focussing on aluminium beverage packaging;
- to estimate the share of informal sector diversion of aluminium beverage packaging in selected Eastern European cities;
- to map the material flows in the informal recycling value chain leading to information on the final destination of aluminium beverage packaging;
- to cross-check the results with literature research and data from extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes.
The areas of investigation of this study were the cities of Bucharest (Romania), Athens (Greece) and Miskolc (Hungary).