The aluminium beverage can recycling rate in the US reached its highest level in a decade last year when 58.1% of aluminium cans were recycled.
Trade associations, the Aluminium Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), report that this amounts to more than double that of any other beverage container.
Nearly 56-billion aluminium cans were recycled during 2010, resulting in significant energy savings equal to 17-million barrels of crude oil or nearly two days of all US oil imports, the associations state.
“We are pleased the recycling rate has increased from 2009. This is a boost for our industry and further evidence that the aluminum beverage can is the best environmental and sustainable packaging option,” says Aluminium Association president Steve Larkin.
He notes that the associa-tion recognises that more needs to be done at the federal, state and local levels to enact recycling policies and awareness. “We continue to look for partners who are also sincere about making a real change in how we approach recycling in the US today,” he notes.
ISRI president Robin Wiener adds that the scrap recycling industry provides feedstock material sought after by industrial customers around the world.
“Aluminum cans represent a valuable portion of these recyclable commodities. “Recycling is much, much bigger than the bin at the curb. Our industry provided a $77-billion boost to the US economy in 2010, protected our environment and helped save energy and natural resources,” she says.
Aluminium beverage cans can be infinitely recycled back into new cans. This helps to keep waste out of landfills and provides a significant amount of the material needed to make new cans. At 68% aluminium, cans also have the greatest amount of recycled content.
In addition to being recycla-ble, aluminium is able to pro-vide a longer shelf life than other beverage packaging, says CMI president Robert Budway.
In 2008, the Aluminium Association set a goal of recycling 75% of aluminum cans by 2015. The recycling rate at that time was 54.2% and it has been gradually increasing, reaching 57.4% in 2009.