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Aerosols have been sold in the UK for more than 50 years.

12 Billion aerosols are used worldwide every year.

Aerosols carry statutory and voluntary warnings together with appropriate usage instructions to ensure they are used correctly and safely.

Empty aerosols are widely recyclable as they are made from tinplated steel or aluminium.

Filled aerosols are tested individually at 50oC during the manufacturing process.

Aerosols have a long shelf life because they are air tight, clean and hygienic so the product does not deteriorate.

Aerosol products are hermetically sealed so they do not spill, do not evaporate during storage and offer maximum protection to contents.

Aerosols provide convenience and a high performance to industrial, professional and general consumers.

Aerosols perform consistently from the first to the last spray with makes them consumers' preferred pack,

Aerosols comply with stringent EU regulatory safety requirements which have been in force since 1975.

Aerosols are extremely versatile, dispensing sprays, foams, gels and powders with a tailored spray for every application.

UK aerosols have not contained CFCs since 1989.

Recycling rates determine carbon emissions 

Recycling rate is the percentage of cans on the market returned for recycling.

All cans returned for recycling are recycled.

Empty aerosols may be included in household metals recycling schemes.

Recovered aerosols make a valuable contribution to metal recycling in many parts of Europe, including the UK.

Steel and aluminium can be recycled again and again without loss of quality.

More recycling means less CO2.

See British Aerosols Manufacturers Association dedicated site:

Can Facts   Source Date

UK steel can recycling rate 2013




Percentage of aerosols in the metals packaging waste stream




Estimated amout of high grade aluminium available from recycling aerosols in the UK

4,500 tonnes



Estimated amount of tinplated steel available from recycling aerosols in the UK

25,000 tonnes



More Recycling of Aerosol Cans Means Less CO2 

Currently there is no universal approach for the measurement of a carbon footprint.

A European carbon footprint model is available to trade association members.

The higher the recycling rate the higher the carbon saving. click here for chart

Metal operates in a ‘material to material’ loop – whether the material comes back in exactly the same product is not relevant.  This 'End of Life' approach most accurately reflects the emissions from metal Click here for the Material to Material Loop diagram

When recycled, the carbon (energy) embodied in a can will displace new energy in the steel and aluminium production processes - whether the end use is in the form of a car, bridge or can.

Embodied carbon is the carbon dioxide that is emitted at all stages of a good's manufacturing process, from the mining of raw materials through the distribution process, to the final product.

Life Cycle Assessment is the detailed assessment of the environmental effects of a process, product or service 'from cradle to grave'.  However the boundaries need to be carfully and clearly defined - where you start and finish, what is included, what is excluded, all have a major impact on the findings of an LCA and depend on the resources used for the study.  This can often lead to problems when two apparently similar studies are compared.


Metal used to make cans is produced from both virgin and recycled materials 

Recycled content is an inappropriate measure for metal cans because of the production process.

In Europe metal is on average produced from 50% recycled material.

Recycled content is the figure for the scrap steel cans consumed, or secondary smelted aluminium as a percentage of total steel or aluminium production.

The carbon impact is reduced proportionate to the recycling rate, which in the UK is in excess of 50%.

Can Facts   Source Date

Steel:recycled material used as a percentage of total production




Aluminium:recycled material used as a percentage of total production (unless pure material specified)




High recycling rate reduces net weight to landfill 

  • Net weight to landfill is determined by the weight of the pack relative to its recycling rate.
  • Higher gross weight packs with high recycling rates may well reduce landfill.
  • All packaging is less than 3% of all solid waste and 60% is recovered and recycled. *


Can Facts   Source Date

Over the last two decades the weight of steel cans has reduced by




Over the last two decades the weight of aluminium cans has reduced by




Energy saved from using scrap versus virgin raw material - steel




Energy saved from using scrap versus virgin raw material - aluminium




UK Packaging Waste Generated (industrial, commercial & household) - Total

10.8 million tonnes



Can Facts   Source Date

UK investment in steel recycling and infrastructure over the past two decades



August 2012

UK investment in aluminium recycling and infrastructure over the past two decades



August 2012

On-going investment in European operational carbon reduction



August 2012

European research in future carbon reducing techologies



August 2012

Probably more money invested in metal sustainability than any other packaging material


BAMA - British Aerosol Manufacturers’ Association 
BAMA represents the aerosol supply chain from suppliers of components and ingredients to fillers and marketers of aerosol products.  Website:

DEFRA - The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
A Government Department in the UK which aims to secure a healthy environment in which current and future generations can prosper. Website:

APEAL - Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging
A federation of multinational producers of steel for packaging in Europe, representing some 90% of the total European production of steel for packaging. Website

ALUPRO - Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation
Represents the leading aluminium packaging producers and reprocessors in the UK. To ensure that packaging waste recycling targets are met through working with local authorities and other partners, and through public education. Alupro is also the body responsible for working with Government on policy issues. Website:

CSPR - Corus Steel Packaging Recycling
Corus Steel Packaging Recycling promotes steel packaging recycling to consumers, local authorities and the commercial sector, and offers an established end market for recovered used steel packaging.
For additional information on steel can recycling see: SCRIB - the Steel Can Recycling Information Bureau

BCME - Beverage Can Makers Europe
Represents Europe's leading drinks can manufacturers to maximise market opportunities for the beverage can and proactively position and support the positive attributes and image of the can relative to other beverage packaging alternatives through coordinated marketing, environmental, legislative and technical initiatives. Website:

EAA - European Aluminium Association
The European Aluminium Association represents the aluminium industry in Europe. It aims to secure sustainable growth of the market for aluminium ahilst maintaining & improving the image of the industry. Website:

EMPAC - European Metal Packaging Association
Represents the metal packaging industry in all the countries of the European Union

* Refers to Packaging in Perspective prepared by the Advisory Committee on Packaging. 
Pdf version available click here

EA - Environment Agency
An Executive Non Departmental Public Body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and an Assembly Sponsored Public Body responsible to the National Assembly for Wales which aims to protect and improve the environment, and to promote sustainable development. Website:


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