Brazil’s Abralatas claims world record for can recycling

Brazil is set to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for recycling the largest amount of used beverage cans (UBCs) gathered at a single event.

Nearly 10 tonnes of aluminium cans were collected at the Rio de Janeiro carnival, one of the largest in the world, which ran down the city’s Marquês de Sapucaí avenue in February. The recycling programme was led by Cada Lata Conta, the Brazilian version of the Every Can Counts (ECC) initiative, and was backed by Abralatas, the trade body that represents Brazil’s aluminium beverage can manufacturers.

“Being acknowledged by Guinness demonstrates that we are on the right track, showing the world that it is possible to make such a huge event sustainable,” said Abralatas executive president Cátilo Cândido.

Abralatas worked with several sustainability and recycling organisations and 100 can gatherers to recycle almost 10 tonnes of UBCs during five days of the carnival. Designated areas were established to collect, sort and manage the cans. 

The programme also took the opportunity to deploy recycling ambassadors throughout the carnival to raise awareness of the benefits of choosing metal packaging and the importance of effective recycling.

Brazil is the world’s third-largest manufacturer of aluminium cans and the packaging is popular among beverage fillers and consumers, with recent expansion into products such as whiskey, isotonic drinks and the traditional Brazilian spirit cachaça. 

The country is a champion recycler of UBCs, hitting a nationwide recycling rate of 98.7% in 2021. Brazil was the first country outside Europe to join the ECC programme, which was founded in the UK and promotes recycling-on-the-go in 19 European nations.

As a further measure to support recycling, Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment launched a public consultation on implementing a deposit return system (DRS) for metal packaging at the end of last year.

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