JANUARY 2009

The Aluminum Association sets recycling target

The Aluminum Association announced an industry-wide effort to increase the industry's recycling rate for used aluminum beverage containers to 75 percent by 2015. Today, the aluminum industry recovers approximately 54 percent of the aluminum containers produced in the United States. While aluminum cans are already the most widely recycled beverage container in the country, each year Americans still discard over 50 billion aluminum cans.

Raising the recycling rate of aluminum cans to 75 percent would:

  • Result in an energy savings of 139.7 million MBTUs in avoided energy.
  • Result in the avoidance of almost 9 million tons of greenhouse gases, which is equivalent to removing more than 1.6 million cars from the road over a year.

To achieve the recycling target, the Aluminum Association will work in partnership with other stakeholders to increase public education, grow the recycling infrastructure, and explore new policy initiatives. The Association will encourage and assist local and state governments to consider a range of options.

The United States aluminum industry's recycling rate peaked at 68 percent in 1992, but then declined to as low as 50 percent. More recently, the recycling rate has been gradually increasing again, growing by 2.2 percentage points in 2007.