In May this year the Department of Environmental Affairs announced on an ambitious strategy to embark on a “source to sea” initiative to combat plastic pollution.  Since then there has been an increased focus worldwide regarding packaging with South Africa being among the countries to join the Clean Seas campaign initiated by the United Nations Environmental Program.

Packaging, and especially food packaging, has become an integral part of modern day society as it provides many benefits.  However, the mantra for packaging and ultimately waste reduction should remain “reduce, reuse, recycle”. We should learn to make informed decisions about our packaging needs, moving from a “throw- away society” to one based on a circular system. Isn’t it better to manage the resources we have than to make more things to throw away?

Everyone should be making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of packaging that ends up either as landfill or in our oceans. When it is not feasible to reduce or reuse, then the last option should be to use a product that is recyclable. As packaging material, aluminium is truly remarkable and is firmly at the top of the recycling chain as it is infinitely recyclable, without any degradation in its quality. Aluminium is 100% recyclable for same use and to re-cycle it only takes 5% of the energy required to make new aluminium. It is amazing to think that of all the aluminium ever made that at least two-thirds of it is still in use today.   

Recycling aluminium conserves significant amounts of energy – it reduces the carbon footprint of the material by reducing the impact of bauxite mining and the energy production for primary smelting.

Aluminium is a unique metal, besides all the associated environmental benefits due to being 100% recyclable it is also strong, durable, flexible, impermeable, lightweight and corrosion resistant. With all these qualities it should be the material of choice for food packaging.

For more information regarding aluminium and the recycling of aluminium visit the webpage www.