Diageo part of consortium to provide recycled aluminium

Diageo has announced it is part of a collective of industry experts who will create a circular economy for aluminium in the UK.

The British Aluminium Consortium for Advanced Alloys (BACALL), with funding from the beverage maker, will build a plant to roll hundreds of thousands of tonnes of aluminium sheet in the UK, which the consortium says will produce more than enough for over 400 million cans of Guinness and pre-mixed Gordon’s and tonic.

According to a statement released to the press, the UK is reliant on an energy-intensive supply chain that is based on the unsustainable exporting and importing of aluminium to recycle and remake cans,

The consortium’s move will see the construction of an advanced aluminium recycling and manufacturing plant to establish a new circular-economy supply chain for aluminium. This, it says, will not just “keep the recycling of aluminium in the UK” but also “cement the UK’s position” as a leader in the adoption of carbon reduction and manufacturing.

Once the plant is up-and running, Diageo says the use of recycled aluminium will significantly contribute its 10-year sustainability action plan by four main measures:

  • increasing the use of recycled aluminium with Guinness cans made of 100% recycled material
  • reducing the carbon emissions needed to export and import aluminium sheet
  • reducing the dependency on raw materials needed to create aluminium
  • contributing to a reduction in Diageo’s Scope 3 carbon emissions, as the plant will use 95% less energy in the production of its aluminium sheet versus traditional prime production methods

Diageo has been working with BACALL since 2021 when Diageo jointly funded a feasibility study with the UK Government (via Innovate UK) into whether and how a large-scale circular economy strategy could be adopted across the aluminium sector tailored to the UK.

Ewan Andrew, global supply chain and procurement & chief sustainability officer at Diageo, says the firm is excited to be a part of a project that will “ultimately change the production of aluminium 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,” Andrew adds.

David Sneddon, non-executive director of BACALL Aluminium says of the development of UK made aluminium: “By sourcing, recycling, manufacturing and supplying aluminium flat rolled sheet in the UK, we can localise 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.”

Geoff Scamans, Professor of Metallurgy at Brunel University put the news in perspective when he says: “Aluminium has the potential to be zero carbon, but the entire supply chain needs to see a dramatic reduction in emissions. The UK currently exports much of its aluminium scrap, yet at the same time, imports nearly all aluminium sheet. By changing this, we should see a significant carbon footprint reduction. I applaud Diageo and BACALL for beginning this process.”


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