Benefits of cans still unknown in France

French can recycling

The metal packaging association in France, La Boite Boisson, has released its latest CSA survey, suggesting that French consumers are still unclear about the environmental benefits of cans.

The can is recognised as being easy to sort by 61% of French people, its other environmental qualities are still unknown.

The French are thus only 36% to know that it is easily recyclable, 20% to define it as “infinitely recyclable” and 23% to be aware that it is “infinitely recyclable, without loss of quality” .

When consumers become more familiar with these lasting strengths of the can, they will then consider it to be “green” packaging. Indeed, for them, a packaging can be qualified as “green” if it is infinitely recyclable (44%) and without loss of quality (38%): two properties which characterize the can!

Environmental assets to be better known

The French know little about the many environmental advantages of the can and its latest progress in this area. The reduction in its weight and therefore its carbon footprint is the most well-known advance among consumers, who are 58% to recognise that “the can has become thinner, its weight has fallen by 30% in 30 years”.

On the other hand, they are only 40% to agree in saying that “The can is easy to recycle and the metal recycling channels are efficient” and the same part namely that “80% of the metal that was produced is still used today, because the metal can be recycled and reused continuously ”.

The French also know little about the advantage of recycled cans since they are only 32% to agree that “ Using a recycled can saves 95% of the energy that would have been needed to produce a new can with virgin metal ”. In addition, only 32% are also aware of its recycling performance ” The can is recycled more than plastic bottles and cardboard boxes “. However, nearly 7 out of 10 cans are recycled in France.

Consumers convinced by the durable characteristics of the can!

After exposure to the different properties of the can, the French consider its environmental qualities to be undeniable. More than 8 out of 10 (84%) say they have a better image of the can or intend to use this packaging for a future purchase.

Almost 7 out of 10 cans recycled in France

In sorting centers, cans have the advantage of being easy and economical to extract from the household waste stream. Whether in steel or aluminum, any box collected and sorted, via selective collection or incineration, will be recycled.

Beyond ecological and civic aspects, metal recycling is an economically interesting operation: limiting the use of natural resources, saving energy, reducing CO2.

The steel and aluminum from recycled cans are used, for example, to manufacture new parts for cars, household appliances or new packaging.

Strong growth in recycling rate for aluminum cans in France

The aluminium can indeed saw its recycling rate jump by 7% between 2017 and 2018, from 59 to 66%. Strong growth due to better collections carried out by local authorities, simplified sorting instructions, a rise in sorting centre equipped with eddy current, but also thanks to the significant efforts carried out in the field by the “Every Can Counts” programme. And through the metal project with CELAA (Club for light aluminium and steel packaging). This rate could be even better if all the tonnages of recycled cans were counted. 

Indeed, a recent study carried out by Indigo for the Boisson Box in the Grand-Est region shows that a significant tonnage of aluminium cans, particularly from companies, although sorted and collected, is sent to untracked channels. The study estimates that cans collected outside the traditional household sorting circuit would represent 11% of additional recycled cans.

La Boîte Boisson therefore plans to extend this study to the whole of France to establish the real rate of recycling of cans in the territory.

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