Last week the Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) teamed up to release an updated report detailing the increasing advantages of utilizing aluminium cans against other types of packaging.
The report, entitled The Aluminum Can Advantage: Sustainability Key Performance Indicators 2020, revealed several findings, including research showing that aluminium cans are recycled at about twice the rate of plastic bottles. Aluminium beverage cans today consist of about 73 percent recycled content, far surpassing glass bottles’ average of 23 percent recycled content and below 6 percent for plastic bottles.
Along with the updated report, the Aluminum Association and CMI also released Every Can Counts: An Aluminum Beverage Can Recycling Manifesto, which is meant to drive home the importance to the environment and sustainability in general of aluminium can recycling.
“The aluminum industry is committed to bringing as many used beverage containers as possible back into the system,” noted the Aluminum Association’s CEO Tom Dobbins. “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 aluminum can is typically recycled directly into a new can – a process which can happen over and over again.”
“The aluminum 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 aluminum sheet used to make new beverage cans. These used cans plus other scrap metal create an average recycled content rate of 73 percent, 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 aluminum cans out of landfills.”
Other findings in the report include an industry recycling rate for aluminium of 55.9 percent last year, which is down from the prior year’s total of 63.6 percent. Consumer recycling last year fell from 49.8 percent in 2018 to 46.1 percent, but the 20-year average remains at about 50 percent.