July 2005

Aluminum beverage can recycling rate increases

Washington, DC— The Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) released statistics indicating that Americans and the can recycling industries recycled 51.5 billion aluminum cans in 2004, for a beverage can recycling rate of 51.2 percent. This reflects a 1.2 percent increase over 2003 and the first increase since 1997.

The aluminum beverage can is the most recycled consumer beverage container in the U.S. It amounts to more than twice the recycling rate for beverage packages of other materials.

“This rising rate reflects the high value of aluminum recycling,” said Craig P. Eddy, chairman of The Aluminum Association and president and chief executive officer of Coastal Aluminum Rolling Mills, Inc. “There are tremendous social, economic and environmental benefits to recycling aluminum cans. We encourage consumers to contribute to a sustainable environment by purchasing and recycling aluminum cans.”

The aluminum beverage can is 100 percent recyclable into new beverage cans indefinitely — demonstrating recycling at its finest. Aluminum can recycling helps fund the entire collection system. The aluminum can is the only packaging material that more than covers the cost of collection and reprocessing for itself. It also helps subsidize the collection of other recyclable materials.

Recycling saves energy. Recycling 40 aluminum beverage cans has the energy-saving equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. During 2004, Americans recycled enough aluminum cans to conserve the energy equivalent of over 15 million barrels of oil.

The Aluminum Association and CMI formed a joint committee called, the Aluminum Can Council (ACC) to explore and implement new programs to increase consumer interest in aluminum cans and recycling. The ACC’s Curbside Value Partnership program is helping communities promote curbside recycling to households, and their systems with value-based measurement for tracking improvement. Other ACC programs include can advertising, recycling promotion, student environmental education programs, school and civic organization collection programs, and other projects. The ACC recognizes and promotes the value and importance of recycling.

The aluminum can is a leader in recycling and has been for more than 20 years. In the U.S., 100.5 billion cans were produced in 2004. 51.5 billion aluminum cans were recycled, equaling some 1.51 billion pounds.

 


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