Diageo invests in circular economy for aluminium

Diageo has announced funding to establish an organisation to create a circular economy for aluminium in the UK market.

The Johnnie Walker owner said today that the British Aluminium Consortium for Advanced Alloys (BACALL) is a collective of industry experts who will create a circular economy for aluminium in the UK.

According to Diageo, they will build a plant to “roll hundreds of thousands of tonnes of aluminium sheet in the UK, more than enough for over 400 million cans of Guinness and pre-mixed Gordon’s and tonic”.

“Currently, to recycle and remake cans, the UK is reliant on an energy-intensive supply chain that is based on the unsustainable exporting and importing of aluminium,” Diageo said.

Once the plant is up-and running, the recycled aluminium will contribute to Diageo’s 10-year sustainability action plan through measures such as increasing the use of recycled aluminium, with Guinness cans made of 100% recycled material, and reducing the carbon emissions needed to export and import aluminium sheet.

Diageo has been working with BACALL since 2021 when the drinks company jointly funded a feasibility study with the UK government.

Ewan Andrew, global supply chain and procurement & chief sustainability officer at Diageo, said: “We are excited to be a part of a project that will ultimately change the production of aluminum in the UK. We are now seeking to work in partnership with business and government to not only reduce aluminium’s carbon footprint, but also to bring this part of the aluminium supply chain back to the UK.”

David Sneddon, non-executive director of BACALL added: “Aluminium is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet – yet the 15 billion plus cans made in the UK rely on an energy-intensive supply chain, that requires aluminium to be brought in and out of the country.

“By sourcing, recycling, manufacturing and supplying aluminium flat rolled sheet in the UK, we can localize and close the supply chain, providing substantial reductions in carbon emissions. This will help create a more sustainable aluminium industry and will secure the future capacity of ultra-low carbon alloys.”

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