Recycling Rate for Aluminum Cans Increases to 65.1%

Aluminum cans have retained their status as the most recycled containers among containers for beverages. The Aluminum Association, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) have announced that in 2011, the U.S. recycling rate for aluminum beverage containers increased to 65.1% from 58.1%, which translated to 61 billion cans.

The industry has set a goal of 75% recycle rate for aluminum cans. When compared to other beverage containers, aluminum cans are recycled at more than double the rate.

The president of the Aluminum Association, Heidi Brock stated that all Americans should help to increase the recycling rate to 75% by 2015. Tri-Arrows Aluminum, Alcoa and Golden Aluminum comprise the Aluminum Association's Can Committee.

Manufacturing a can from recycled material requires 95% less energy, and results in savings in resources and emissions. In 2011, the energy saved through recycling cans is equivalent in terms of energy to more than 17 million barrels of crude oil. This crude oil will be sufficient to provide fuel for over a million vehicles for a year. Moreover, aluminum cans may be recycled repeatedly which translates to repeated savings. This loop can be completed within a period of 60 days.

If aluminum cans are always loaded in recycling bins, then they may not see a landfill at all. Aluminum cans also feature the highest amount of recycled content which is around 68%.

ISRI chief economist, Joe Pickard stated that in 2011, the total U.S. aluminum scrap exports increased to 2.1 million tons, while the aluminum recovered from purchased scrap increased to 3 million tons. Imports of used beverage containers have driven the increase in the recycling rate in the U.S.


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G.P. Thomas

Written by

G.P. Thomas

Gary graduated from the University of Manchester with a first-class honours degree in Geochemistry and a Masters in Earth Sciences. After working in the Australian mining industry, Gary decided to hang up his geology boots and turn his hand to writing. When he isn't developing topical and informative content, Gary can usually be found playing his beloved guitar, or watching Aston Villa FC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.


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