Solid Waste & Recycling


U.S. recycles 2.2 per cent more aluminum cans

The Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) hav...

The Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) have announced a 2.2 percentage point increase in aluminum can recycling rates, the largest gain in recycling rates in ten years. In 2007 Americans and the aluminum industry recycled nearly 54 billion infinitely recyclable aluminum cans, nearly two billion more than in 2006. At a recycling rate of 53.8 percent, the aluminum can is by far the most recycled beverage container in the United States, although it appears almost half the cans, which contain a great deal of embodied energy, don’t get recycled.

However, the industry is bullish on the results.

“This increase in the recycling rate demonstrates the serious commitment to recycling by the Aluminum industry,” said Kevin Anton, chairman of The Aluminum Association and vice president of Alcoa and president of Alcoa Materials Management, Inc. “The aluminum can is environmentally sustainable. Our industry is committed to doing the right thing and continuing to work to increase the number of aluminum cans recycled annually.”

“The practice of recycling aluminum cans provides environmental, economic, and social benefits to communities and organizations across the country,” said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute. “Recycling saves energy. Recycling 40 aluminum beverage cans has the energy-saving equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. During 2007, Americans recycled enough aluminum cans to conserve the energy equivalent of over 15 million barrels of oil.”

“The scrap recycling industry is pleased with the year-over-year growth” said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. “The value of the all-aluminum can as a recyclable commodity can only increase.”

The Aluminum Can Council, made up of members from both the Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute — Alcoa, Anheuser-Busch Packaging Group, ARCO Aluminum, Ball Corporation, Novelis and REXAM supports several recycling initiatives. The Curbside Value Partnership (CVP) is one of these important programs that works with material recycling facilities and municipalities assisting them in making curbside recycling programs more efficient for their communities. Currently, CVP is engaged with more than 40 communities. Partner communities have seen an average increase of 22 percent in recycling volume and 20 percent in participation. Additionally, hundreds of other communities have benefited from the best practices and resources shared online at and in print in the quarterly newsletter Bin Buzz.

Other Aluminum Can Council programs include The Recycle Challenge school drop-off program, can advertising promotions, recycling promotions, student environmental education programs, school and civic organization collection programs, and other projects. Through this group’s efforts, the aluminum can industry recognizes and promotes the value and importance of recycling.

The aluminum beverage can is 100 percent recyclable into new beverage cans indefinitely — a demonstration of recycling at its finest. Today’s lightweight beverage can weighs only 0.468 ounces with 34.17 cans per pound of aluminum. The can is the only beverage container that more than covers the cost of collection and re-processing for itself. It also helps subsidize the collection of other recyclable materials.


Stephen Gardner
The Aluminum Association

Jenny Day
Can Manufacturers Institute

Bruce Savage
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

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