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) is working to encourage people to recycle beverage cans they use when they are away from home—for example, at work and other “on the go” locations. ECC campaigns associate fun activities with can recycling to interact with consumers, festivals goers and the ones who enjoy life in public spaces and want to make that extra sorting effort to save energy and valuable materials. Originally developed in the U.K. to target the approximately 30 percent of drinks cans used outside the home, ECC has successfully established itself as the umbrella brand for promoting beverage can recycling away from home, with programs running in 14 countries by early 2018, from Austria to Benelux, Ireland, Scotland, Greece and Serbia. Exemplary success stories from 2017 include:
    • In Spain, Cada Lata Cuenta took part in urban culture festivals and a paragliding race across the Pyrenees, went to colorful Mediterranean beaches and in the trendy design street markets of Madrid. Among other events, ECC launched Pixelata 2.0 during the Farcama festival in October 2017; where visitors became street artists, sprayed the bottom of cans consumed at the festival and created a giant piece of pixel art made of 2,000 cans.
    • In the U.K., 2,454 sites had signed up for ECC in early 2018, creating more than 13,630 can collection points. ECC and Drops Cycling Team teamed up at cycling races during the 2017 season. By racing against friends around an infinite recycling loop track, cycling enthusiasts were engaged and encouraged to recycle more.
    • Since its inception in 2010, 2,217 participating sites across France and promotional activities at 747 events contributed to Chaque Canette Compte’s success in reaching 14 million people and collecting 57 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.