Over 55 Billion Aluminum Cans Recycled in 2001

Washington, DC - Americans recycled 55.6 billion aluminum cans in 2001, for a beverage can recycling rate of 55.4 percent, and the industry paid out $850 million to recyclers for their used aluminum beverage cans. For 20 out of 21 years the rate has exceeded 50 percent.

The statistics were released by the three organizations representing the related industries, The Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

The recycling proceeds are invested into local economies benefiting individuals, municipalities, schools, churches, scout troops and non-profit organizations.

The aluminum can manufacturing industry lead various initiatives to turn aluminum cans into cash for worthwhile community causes. For example, The Aluminum Association's partnership with Habitat for Humanity uses money earned from recycling aluminum to help volunteers and families build homes with Habitat.

"If consumers recycled even half of the 44 billion cans that went unrecycled last year, and contributed the money to Aluminum Cans Build Habitat for Humanity Homes (ACBHHH), volunteers could build 5,000 new homes for needy families," the Aluminum Association's chairman, Brian Sturgell, noted.

The aluminum can is the leader in packaging recycling and has been for more than 20 years. In the United States, 100.3 billion cans were produced in 2001, with 55.6 billion aluminum cans recycled - some 1.66 billion pounds.

Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, noted that the closed-loop recycling process is highly energy efficient. "Aluminum can recycling saves about 95 percent of the energy required to produce aluminum from ore. Furthermore, the aluminum can is the number one container for recycled content with almost half of each can made from recycled aluminum."