Americans Recycled Two of Every Three Aluminum Cans in 2000

Washington, DC - Americans recycled 62. 6 billion aluminum cans in 2000, for a beverage can recycling rate of 62.1 percent or nearly two of every three aluminum cans.

The annual statistics were released by the three organizations representing the aluminum can recycling industry: The Aluminum Association; the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI); and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

"While the aluminum can is still the leader in packaging recycling, and has been for more than 20 years, our member companies are on a mission to increase consumer interest in recycling," said Dick Kerr, chairman of the association and president of IMCO Recycling Inc.

"The demand for aluminum cans remains strong and the industry remains committed to recycling every can returned," said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute. "The closed-loop process of turning a can into a can with no loss in quality represents recycling at its finest." In the United States, 100.8 billion cans were produced in 2000, with 62.6 billion aluminum cans recycled-some 1.9 billion pounds.

"The recycling infrastructure is so efficient that it can take as few as 60 days for an aluminum can to be collected, melted, processed, manufactured into a new can, filled, and stocked on a retailer's shelf," said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. " Recycling also is energy efficient. Aluminum can recycling saves about 95 percent of the energy required to produce aluminum from ore."

Aluminum cans almost exclusively represent the metal beverage can market in America. The average aluminum beverage can is comprised of more than 51 percent recycled content.

Aluminum cans are the most valuable and recyclable package. In 2000, the industry paid out $1.2 billion to recyclers for their used aluminum beverage cans. The recycling proceeds are invested into local economies benefiting individuals, municipalities, schools, churches, scout troops and non-profit organizations.

For many groups, used aluminum cans turn into new-found money thanks to aluminum can industry initiatives. Initiatives include the Aluminum Association's partnership with Habitat for Humanity called "Aluminum Cans Build Habitat for Humanity Homes," designed to boost public interest in aluminum can recycling while helping volunteers and families build homes with Habitat; and CMI's "Cans for Cash," a comprehensive recycling fundraising and educational program involving thousands of students and community groups nationwide.

In 2000, the number of cans manufactured per pound of aluminum rose slightly to 33.12. The can industry continues its source-reduction achievement in the form of "lightweighting"-making more aluminum cans with less aluminum-resulting in a ten percent savings in the number of cans per pound in just six years when 30.13 cans equaled a pound.

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