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Every Can Counts Now in UAE: Paving the Way to Full Aluminium Can Recycling

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The initiative launched at COP28 in Dubai is set to inspire behaviour change and help increase recycling rates towards a more circular future.

Brussels, 15 February 2024. Every Can Counts, the leading awareness programme for drink can recycling, has officially launched its chapter in the United Arab Emirates. Introduced at COP28 in Dubai, this chapter is supported by Emirates Global Aluminium and aluminium can-makers Crown and Canpack, aiming to help boost the country’s recycling rates from just one-third to 100%.

From Just One-third to a Vision of 100% Recycling

The United Arab Emirates, now the third non-European nation after Brazil and the U.S.A  to join this behaviour change initiative, consumes over 660 million aluminium drink cans annually, with currently only a third being recycled. This is in stark contrast to the recycling rates of over 95% in leading countries. The arrival of Every Can Counts is timely and crucial,  not only because of the UAE’s current recycling rates but also because of the global challenge to tackle climate change by decarbonising the industry and truly reducing its environmental impact.

If disposed of correctly, drink cans recycle forever, saving up to 95% of energy and CO2 emissions compared to cans made from primary aluminium. Helping increase the nationwide recycling rate for drink cans would significantly reduce the 440 million cans that currently end up in landfills each year while drastically cutting down GHG emissions. 

But the successful recycling journey of a drink can is directly linked to consumer behaviour and their choice to place the used cans in the proper bin. The Every Can Counts mission is to inspire, encourage, and empower people to recycle their drink cans wherever they are while promoting aluminium’s unique qualities as a highly sustainable option for low-carbon beverage packaging.  

David Van Heuverswyn, Director Every Can Counts Global: “I am delighted that Every Can Counts has just been launched in the UAE thanks to a new partnership between the aluminium industry and local drink can producers. Our vision of empowering people to recycle their drink cans wherever they consume them can now spread to a new region. We are fully committed and ready to make a positive change in the UAE.”

A Global Call to Accelerate Aluminium Drink Can Circularity

In a united call at COP28, key global aluminium suppliers and recyclers, along with aluminium can makers and organisations, including Every Can Counts, pledged to boost the recycling rate of aluminium drink cans to 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. Despite over 70% of cans being recycled globally, more is needed to contribute to the 1.5-degree target. 

Expecting drink can consumption to climb from 420 billion in 2020 to 630 billion by 2030,  a 100% recycling rate by 2030 would save 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. 

Achieving this requires a collective ‘can do’ attitude involving consumers, the education sector, drink brands, can makers, aluminium suppliers and recyclers, waste management companies, local authorities, governments and NGOs.

Abdulnasser Bin Kalban, Chief Executive Officer at EGA: “Infinite recyclability is one of many reasons why aluminium is essential for developing a more sustainable society. Aluminium is already one of the world’s most recycled materials, but too much of this valuable material is still thrown away. Increasing recycling requires supportive government policies and the development of infrastructure. It also depends on individuals making the right decisions every day about how to dispose of items they no longer need. We are excited about the potential of Every Can Counts to improve aluminium beverage can recycling rates in the UAE.”

Bartlomiej Wojdylo, Sustainability Director Europe at CANPACK: “For CANPACK, sustainability is a core responsibility. Aluminium beverage cans are the most recycled packaging in the world, and we know from countries like Brazil that it is possible to collect and recycle all cans. We would like to see this fantastic performance replicated in other countries. By supporting Every Can Counts in UAE, we want to inspire consumers to recycle more.”

Sandrine Duquerroy-Delesalle, Director Sustainability & External Affairs at Crown: “We are excited to see the expansion of Every Can Counts to the UAE, after supporting it in other countries since its launch over a decade ago. Circularity is a key element of our sustainability, and we know we have the best package and material to keep delivering it. It is great to see the industry working all together to keep the cycle going.” 

Visualising Change: Art Meets #Actionism, Encouraging Recycling and Sustainability

Highlighting COP28’s theme of #Actionism to underline the importance of individual and collective efforts, Every Can Counts UAE made a striking statement with its #PixelCan installation, an art piece created from over 2000 aluminium drink cans. The artwork was displayed at the Sustainability Entrance and showed a young woman holding Planet Earth in her hands – a compelling symbol of how small, everyday actions such as recycling drink cans can have a big impact on environmental sustainability.

In addition to this visual statement, the programme featured its recycling ambassadors equipped with specially designed, QR-coded backpacks to track the quantities recycled throughout the event. The team actively encouraged visitors to recycle their cans on the spot while communicating the sustainable properties of aluminium as a packaging material.

About Every Can Counts (ECC)

Established in 2009 in the UK, the Every Can Counts initiative is the leading programme to promote drink can recycling across Europe and beyond. It aims to inspire, encourage and empower consumers to make a difference by recycling their drink cans wherever they are – at home, at the office or anywhere on the go, from parks, festivals, and sporting events to schools and universities. Today, the initiative is present in 18 European countries, Brazil,  the UAE and the U.S.A.

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