Happy 50th Anniversary
Association Supports $2.5m Steel Can Recycling Campaign
In March 1997, the Association became a foundation member - and funder - of the Steel Can Recycling Council (SCRC), a body which brought together representatives of the major users of steel packaging, along with BlueScope Steel, the local manufacturer of steel for packaging, to fund and manage educational campaigns to promote steel can recycling.
Over the next 11 years, the Council ran a number of highly successful campaigns to promote awareness of steel can recycling, working first with environment group Planet Ark and then with local PR agencies Logic Space Consulting and Senior Agency Australia / TMTE Group.
Over this time, a variety of local celebrities supported the cause of promoting steel can recycling, including Planet Ark co-founder Pat Cash, Ironman Trevor Hendy, the cast of Neighbours, and well-known actress Rebecca Gilling.
With the move away from Planet Ark and the shift to a less celebrity-driven model, the campaign was rebranded to cansmart™ and the focus shifted to working more closely with brandowners and marketers to promote uptake of the 'Recyclable Steel' logo, exhibiting at industry events such as the 'FutureAerosol' event in Sydney in 2005 and sponsoring a prize for Coucils as part of the regular Aerosol Industry Awards.
The Steel Can Recycling Council also worked with local councils around Australia to ensure that they had the right tools (such as those shown below) to promote the steel can recycling message; providing stands, brochures and prizes for householder campaigns and shopping centre promotions.
Sadly, changes in the local steel industry, including the withdrawal of BlueScope Steel from local manufacture of tinplate for packaging and the increasing pressure from packaging imports, saw the Steel Can Recycling Council wind up in mid-2007. Accordingly, the cansmart™ campaign formally ended in December 2007, though its (now dated) website remains at www.cansmart.org.
As a result of the Steel Can Recycling Council's hard work and a direct investment of over $2.5 million, the number of local councils recycling post-consumer steel packaging increased three-fold from 128 to 386, and the recycling rate
for steel cans rose from 24% to 56% (incl. manufacturing scrap) over the life of the campaign. See recycling rate graph.
Today over 85% of Australians have access to recycle their empty post-consumer aerosols, a message which the Association plans to proactively promote in 2015. In the meantime, you can view more on aerosol recycling on our website here.
Footnote: With the emergence of strong export markets for scrap, aluminium aerosols are now also widely accepted in kerbside schemes. Latest data from the Australian Packaging Council reveals a steel can recycling rate of 40.1% (excl. manufacturing scrap) in 2012-13 and a 46.6% recycling rate for aluminium aerosols.