The average recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans was 73 percent (2014) and the steel packaging rate was 78 percent (2015). The metal and metal packaging industries are committed to achieving an 80 percent recycling rate for all metal packaging across Europe by 2020.
Ball manages or supports several projects and organizations that will contribute to this ambitious goal:
  • Every Can Counts (ECC) encourages consumers to recycle cans when away from home—whether at work, college or other “on-the-go” locations like festivals, shopping centers and tourist attractions. To drive behavior change, ECC provides eye-catching recycling bins accompanied by creative posters and other promotional tools. The launch of “Cada Lata Cuenta” in Spain in July 2015 brings the number of ECC programs operating in Europe to 10.

    In the U.K., 2,300 organizations with more than 5,500 sites signed up for ECC by the end of 2015, creating more than 13,300 collection points.

    In France, 1,450 participating sites nationwide, active programs in 137 cities and promotional activities at 500 events contributed to Chaque Canette Compte’s success in reaching 7 million people and collecting 30 million cans that were consumed away from home.

  • MetalMatters is the largest industry-funded recycling campaign in the U.K., and helps local authorities educate residents about the value and benefits of metal packaging recycling, motivating them to get involved and recycle more at home. While 97 percent of municipalities provide curbside metal collection, only about 40 percent of the available metal was captured. Ball and its partners initiated a project to better understand why participation lagged. The findings were surprising—people wanted reassurance that their recycling efforts really made a difference. To alleviate those engagement barriers, Ball and its partners crafted an innovative communication campaign. To learn more about MetalMatters, view this video.

    Between 2012 and 2015, MetalMatters campaigns have run in 55 local authorities, directly targeting more than 3.5 million households. Communities engaged in the program noted an average 18 percent increase in metal packaging recycling after one year. With reduced waste disposal costs and the additional metal packaging collected, each campaign delivers an excellent return on investment by paying for itself within a matter of months and making it a desirable opportunity for cash-strapped local authorities.
Case Study: Partners Make Metal Matter in Wrexham

In 2015, Ball operated a beverage can plant in Wrexham, U.K., and the city became the 50th local authority to partner with MetalMatters. A creative communication campaign informs citizens about what and how to recycle, and what happens to metal packaging during and after the recycling process.

Launched in early 2015, the campaign reaches 62,000 households through two direct household leaflet distributions, online advertising, social media posts, posters in public buildings and information roadshows at local grocery stores.

During the first six months, MetalMatters was successful in Wrexham. While actual results will be publicized when the campaign has run for a full year, we have already seen a significant increase in aluminum beverage can collection rates.

To celebrate the launch of the 50th MetalMatters campaign, Ball invited Wrexham councilors and students from a local primary school to its plant to experience the aluminum can manufacturing process
first-hand. The Wrexham plant produces around 7 million cans per week, and each one can be recycled and back on the shelf as a new can in eight weeks.

In early 2016, Wrexham also implemented a new on-street can recycling program at key public and leisure locations. Provided by Every Can Counts, the bright green can-shaped bins were designed to make it easier for residents and visitors to recycle on-the-go, aiming to reduce cross-contamination and costs to the municipality.

Children touring can plant
  • Ball established two foundations focused on environmental education and both celebrated their jubilees in 2015. The RECAL Foundation in Poland celebrated its 20th and the recan fund in Serbia its 10th anniversary. At festive conferences attended by Ball’s customers, suppliers, government representatives and other stakeholders, attendees looked back at past successes and plans for the future to further increase recycling rates of metal packaging in these countries. Both organizations expanded their outreach in 2015. RECAL held more than 1,000 recycling workshops for children and youth, among various other programs, with 38,000 participants. The recan fund also continued its consumer-oriented campaigns, including the Recycling Theatre, Can-by-Can and its support of the Belgrade Beer Festival. In 10 years, recan collected 3.5 million cans, reached 2.5 million people and educated 20,000 children and youths about the environmental benefits of can recycling.