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The Metal Project brings together industrial companies, local governments, and national decision-makers committed to the collection and recycling of small everyday aluminum and steel packaging (aluminum coffee capsules, foil seals, lids, fresh cheese and chocolate packaging, small cans, etc.).

Our goals

  • Equipping French recycling centers with devices to sort small metal packaging

  • Allowing citizens to throw their used small metal packaging in the recycling bin

  • Improving the recycling of small metal packaging

The Metal Project today

42 million

French citizens who can throw away their small metal packaging directly into the recycling bin with the assurance that they will be recycled

5200 metric tons

of small aluminum packaging recycled in 2022

60 recycling centers

equipped in France

Our ultimate goal

is to enable 50 million French citizens to sort their small metal packaging by 2025.

Why recycle these packaging?


Aluminum and steel are permanent materials that can be recycled numerous times without any loss in quality. Recycling them yields significant energy and CO2 savings :

  • Recycling one metric ton of aluminum saves 95% of energy and 6 metric tons of CO2 equivalent

  • Recycling one metric ton of steel saves 74% of energy and reduces CO2 emissions by 58%

What happens to these packaging once they are thrown in the recycling bin?

Once thrown into the recycling bin, small metal packaging is transported by truck to the recycling center. They then pass through a large magnet called an overband, which captures the small steels, and then through an eddy current separator (video below). This machine generates a magnetic field to separate aluminum, a non-magnetic metal, from other streams. The separately collected small metals are then transported to recycling plants to be melted down again and given a second life.

Metal Project actors


Members of the Club de l’Emballage Léger en Aluminium et en Acier

(Light Aluminium and Steel Packaging Club)



Metal Project for the local governments


The CELAA provides local governments with a turnkey and royalty-free "communication kit" to raise awareness among citizens about recycling small metal packaging and the resulting environmental benefits (posters, social media visuals, banners, brochures, after-school activity booklets, etc.).


About us 

The Metal Project was born from a collective initiative, one where industries, spurred by Nespresso, came together in 2009 within the framework of the Club de l’Emballage Léger en Aluminium et en Acier (Light Aluminium and Steel Packaging Club), a think & do tank created in 2009 by the public affairs agency Com’Publics


Between 2009 and 2013, the CELAA conducted experiments in 4 pilot recycling centers and identified solutions for the collection and recycling of small aluminum and steel packaging :

  • Collection : installation of an overband and an eddy current machine on the fines line.

  • Recycling : pyrolysis process involving heating varnished or plastic-coated aluminum at temperatures between 500 and 550°C in an oxygen-poor atmosphere, thereby recovering pure aluminum.


In equipped recycling centers, the CELAA has observed a 65% increase in collected aluminum tonnage and a 10% increase in steel tonnage.


Following the experimentation, the CELAA partnered in 2014 with CITEO, the Association des maires de France (Association of French Mayors), and the Alliance pour le recyclage des capsules en aluminium (Alliance for Aluminium Capsule Recycling) to extend this collection and recycling initiative, officially named the Metal Project, on a larger scale.

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