Aluminium cans recycled at nearly 2x plastic rate

The Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) released an updated report–The Aluminum Can Advantage: Sustainability Key Performance Indicators 2020–demonstrating the ongoing sustainability advantages of the aluminium beverage container compared to competing packaging types. The report finds that consumers recycle aluminium cans at nearly double the rate of plastic bottles.

Additionally, the average aluminium can made in the United States contains about 73 percent recycled content compared to 23 percent for glass bottles and less than 6% for plastic. In addition, aluminium can scrap is far more valuable than glass or plastic, making aluminium a key driver of the financial viability of the recycling system in the United States.

In an effort to improve the aluminum can recycle rate in the United States, the Aluminum Association and CMI also released a new document Every Can Counts: An Aluminum Beverage Can Recycling Manifestoto underscore the critical importance of aluminum can recycling for the economy and the environment. The manifesto also lays out what the aluminum can production and recycling industry are doing to grow aluminum can recycling and capture every can.

“The aluminium industry is committed to bringing as many used beverage containers as possible back into the system,” said Tom Dobbins, president & CEO of the Aluminum Association. “We are incredibly proud of our industry-leading sustainability metrics but also want to make sure that every can counts. Unlike most recycling, a used aluminium can is typically recycled directly into a new can – a process which can happen over and over again.”

“The aluminium beverage can’s existing circular system recycles approximately 45 billion cans each year in the United States,” said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute. 

“More than 90 percent of these recycled cans get turned into aluminium sheet used to make new beverage cans. These used cans plus other scrap metal create an average recycled content rate of 73%, which is exponentially higher than any competing substrate. 

“While the beverage can’s recycling rate is significantly better than other beverage containers, it is time for all of us to take action to keep more aluminium cans out of landfills.”

The full report is available at 

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