Giant rainbow made from recycled cans pops up in Cardiff City Centre



Photo: Adam Hughes 

Made from over 2,500 recycled drink cans and measuring four metres high and seven metres wide, the rainbow has been installed by not-for-profit Every Can Counts, in partnership with Cardiff Council, to highlight the importance of recycling empty drink cans.


It took four people more than five hours to construct, and will remain in place until Sunday evening. Every Can Counts' team of recycling ambassadors will be roaming Cardiff city centre and Bute Park over the weekend to spread the recycling message while collecting cans.


The rainbow sculpture forms part of a campaign with the council aimed at encouraging Cardiff residents to dispose of empty drink cans responsibly as Covid restrictions lift.


In the first three months of this year, the total volume of domestic recycling in Cardiff was up 23%* on 2020, as lockdown restrictions made it easier for people to recycle at home. However, in the same period, 81 tonnes of litter processed in the Council depot was collected from the city's public places - a massive 55%* increase year-on-year - with more people enjoying time outdoors and socialising with family and friends throughout the city.


Every Can Counts' own research** suggests that more than two thirds (67%) of Cardiff residents say they have noticed more litter over the past year, and most of these people believe this is as a direct result of the pandemic.


More than a third (36%) of those surveyed say they take packaging home to recycle if there aren't recycling facilities in public places, with over half (51%) claiming that they would recycle more while out and about if there were a greater number of recycling bins.


According to Every Can Counts, nearly 350,000 drink cans are put in general waste bins each year in Cardiff. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable and recycling just one can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours***. If these 350,000 cans were recycled, it would give annual greenhouse gas savings equivalent to taking more than 900 cars off roads in Cardiff for a week.


Chris Latham-Warde, Programme Manager for Every Can Counts, said:"We're so excited to unveil our vibrant rainbow installation in Cardiff city centre to remind people about the importance of recycling as restrictions lift across the country.


"Recycling an empty drink can is just one small thing that each of us can do for the benefit of the environment. All of the cans collected in Cardiff over the weekend could be recycled and refilled on shop shelves in just 60 days - and then infinitely recycled again and again.


"Last year, a record four out of five drink cans sold in the UK were recycled****, and this was helped by the fact that we spent much of the year locked down at home with easy access to recycling bins. We now want to keep this up as things return to normality, so we can make our goal of recycling each and every drink can sold a reality."


Councillor Michael Michael, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, said:"We're thrilled that Cardiff is the first city to welcome this fantastic art installation to Wales.


"Rainbows have become especially symbolic in recent times, so it is sure to catch the attention of our residents and visitors in the heart of the city centre.


"We want everyone to use the litter bins provided when they're out and about in Cardiff. We have 240 litter bins in the city centre and usually around 134,000 daily visitors to the city centre*****. We would encourage them to take their litter with them if the bins are full.


"We know that most people want a clean city and dispose of their litter correctly. Our Love Where You Live campaign with Keep Cardiff Tidy has gone from strength to strength with more people signing up to become Litter Champions and helping to keep their local communities clean, we're grateful and thankful to each and every volunteer.


"I'm looking forward to seeing people share their photos of this impressive rainbow sculpture while remembering the message behind it and recycling their drinks cans and other waste."


The rainbow makes for an ideal photo backdrop, and Every Can Counts is running a social media photo competition offering the chance to win a £200 shopping voucher. To enter, take a snap of the rainbow and upload it to social media using #EveryCanCounts and tagging @EveryCanCountsUK (Instagram/Facebook) or @EveryCanCounts (Twitter).


Every Can Counts is a unique partnership formed between drink can manufacturers, drink can fillers and the wider recycling industry, all with the goal of reaching a 100% recycling rate for drink cans.To find out more information about Every Can Counts, visit




* Data sourced from Cardiff City Council, January - March 2021 vs. 2020

** Research of Cardiff residents conducted by OnePoll w/c 21stJune 2021

***Novelis Recycling,

****Alupro (The Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation) calculation based on data published by the Environment Agency,

******pre Covid. Average figure from June 2019


For more information, please contact:


Robyn Upton

(0)161 235 0344

(0)7716 487 819


About Every Can Counts


Every Can Counts is a not-for-profit communications programme working to inspire, encourage and empower people to recycle their empty drink cans. The programme is funded through a partnership between European and UK drink can manufacturers, the aluminium recycling industry and drink brands. The programme's vision is to achieve a 100% recycling rate for drink cans throughout Europe. Every Can Counts partners with a wide range of businesses, organisations and events to work towards this goal, providing advice and support including free-to-use communications materials to help engage consumers with the benefits of recycling drink cans. 


Born in the UK in 2009, the programme now has a presence in 19 countries across Europe.


For more information, please visit follow Every Can Counts on Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter (