Metal packaging recycling program MetalMatters launched in Northern Ireland to increase volumes collected from curbside; 407,000 households will participate

REDDITCH, England , February 6, 2012 (press release) – The metal packaging industry has teamed up with the local authority waste partnership arc21 and its waste management partner Bryson Recycling, to launch the MetalMatters programme to householders across the east of Northern Ireland.

The campaign is the UK’s biggest industry-funded recycling programme focussed on boosting collection levels for packaging, involving funding partners from across the metal packaging, reprocessing and drinks industries.

Funded jointly by the metal packaging sector, arc21 and the Department of Environment’s Rethink Waste campaign, the awareness programme is designed to increase the amount of metal packaging collected from the kerbside. One of the key messages is that there is no limit to the amount of times metal products can be recycled.

Lending his support to the MetalMatters programme Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister Alex Attwood, said:

“I congratulate Metal Matters on this innovative initiative. Recycling metal packaging saves energy and valuable raw materials while reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill.

“The high intrinsic value of used metal packaging like food and drink cans and foil trays is a key incentive and major economic motivation for increasing recycling, adding significant value to kerbside collections and helping to keep down the cost of waste collections to the ratepayer.

“The infrastructure to collect and process recycled metal is already well established in Northern Ireland and this new recycling programme will boost our metal recycling rates and in turn increase the supply of valuable materials for reuse by our local industry. I am also looking at the issue of metal theft which is an element of the metal management agenda that may well need further attention.”

The new programme will help arc21’s 11 constituent councils promote their recycling services through direct mail to local households. It will also use arc21’s Education Bus and extensive advertising on local radio and public transport.

The eight week campaign will reach more than 407,000 households, representing over half of Northern Ireland’s population. It is based on a pilot programme1 developed by the Beverage Can Makers Europe (BCME), Novelis and Tata Steel, and supported by the Waste and Resources Action Programme. The 2010 pilot scheme saw capture rates for metals increase by up to 40% in some collection rounds, as well as increases in collections of other dry recyclables.

Alupro executive director Rick Hindley said:

“MetalMatters was born out of detailed research and analysis into householders’ understanding of recycling and their recycling behaviour. The results to date have convinced the metals industry, and its partners in the packaging chain, that this approach can have a significant and lasting impact on participation and capture rates.

“The campaign we’re launching in Northern Ireland is the most ambitious ever attempted on this scale by any industry partnership, and we are grateful to the team at arc2121 and Bryson Recycling for their support, along with the DOE NI for their funding. We look forward to seeing how the programme develops over the next two months.”

The 11 local authorities in the ARC21 partnership are:

• Antrim Borough Council

• Ards Borough Council

• Ballymena Borough Council

• Belfast City Council

• Carrickfergus Borough Council

• Castlereagh Borough Council

• Down District Council

• Larne Borough Council

• Lisburn City Council

• Newtownabbey Borough Council

• North Down Borough Council

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