Metals matter to Orkney households

Metals matter to Orkney households
09 April 2019

Orkney householders are being congratulated for their efforts with new figures showing metal packaging recycling has increased by an impressive amount over the last 18 months.

It follows on from efforts by the Council’s Waste team in 2017 to boost metals recycling rates through the ‘MetalMatters’ initiative.

‘MetalMatters’ was launched during Recycle Week in September 2017 in conjunction with not-for-profit organisation Alupro, who work to fulfil the aluminium packaging industry’s obligation to meet, and exceed, recycling targets for aluminium packaging.

It saw the introduction of a wider range of metals that could be recycled in Orkney, along with a publicity campaign supported by Alupro to raise awareness of the range of metals accepted, and the benefits of increasing metals recycling.

The increased rate has been calculated by looking at metal recycling figures between September 2017 when the Council first launched it’s ‘MetalMatters’ campaign, through to January 2019.

The biggest increase has been at the Council’s Household Waste and Recycling Centres, where the amount of metal collected increased by 44.5% (by weight), while metal put out for kerbside collections increased by 19.4% in the same period.

Rick Hindley, executive director of Alupro, said: “Orkney householders should give themselves a pat on the back for these results.

“Orkney is the only island group working with us on a MetalMatters campaign. Given the small population and the logistical issues that come with a remote island location, it really is incredible just how much Orkney householders and the Council have managed to increased metal recycling rates.

“Households who recycle their metals are not only helping to offset waste disposal costs through the sale of these metals for recycling, they are also reducing the demand for newly extracted metal and the associated environmental costs.”

Louise Anderson, the Council’s Waste and Recycling Officer, said: “While clearly we have many dedicated recyclers here in Orkney, we know from waste sampling and from speaking to the public that we can do better – for example, many folk are still not aware that you can recycle aerosols, aluminium foil and foil trays in your kerbside recycling. We’ll continue to encourage people to make more of their metals matter over coming months.

“Meantime we’d thank everyone for their efforts over the last 18 months in boosting our metal capture rates and helping make sure the metal packaging we send south for reprocessing is clean, free of unwanted items and attractive to the market.”

Chair of the Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Graham Sinclair, said: “I would echo the sentiments of our waste team in thanking the Orkney public. Their efforts in recycling across the board make a real difference in reducing the financial costs for the Council and the community of dealing with Orkney’s waste. This increase in metal packaging recycling alone has helped offset the cost to the Council of providing waste disposal services to the tune of £4,500 per annum over the last 18 months.”

Make metals matter

Below are some handy tips for householders on what metal packaging they can recycle, and how to help ensure your recycling can be accepted:

  • Yes please: Food cans/tins, drink cans/tins, aluminium foil, aerosol cans, metal lids from jars/bottles, foil trays, lids and food wrappers (all clean and empty).
  • No Thanks: Paint/petrol cans.

Please rinse, do not crush or pierce, place can tops inside cans and remove labels.

Good reasons to recycle metal packaging:

Reason 1: Aluminium can be recycled infinitely – it never loses its quality.

Reason 2: Used aluminium cans can be recycled and back on the shelves in as little as 60 days. However, if a can goes to landfill it will stay there for 500 years.

Reason 3: It just makes sense – producing a can from recycled material uses 95% less energy than making it from scratch.

Reason 4: 75% of the metal ever made is still in use today.

About MetalMatters

MetalMatters was developed and is funded by the metal packaging manufacturing industry, reprocessors and fillers. The programme works in partnership with local authorities and their waste collection partners to promote metal packaging recycling, and thereby improve capture rates for metal packaging at the kerbside.

The MetalMatters programme is supported by WRAP, a not for profit organisation which works with governments, businesses and citizens to create a world in which resources are sourced and used sustainably. MetalMatters is being managed on behalf of the funding partners by the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation

For details of MetalMatters campaigns and case studies visit

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535


Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS