The aluminum industry hopes that our recycling rate will reach 75% by 2015, and we are well on our way. According to a report by the Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), the rate of recycling for used beverage cans (UBCs) in the US continued to increase in 2012 to 67%, the highest recycling rate since the 1990s and the second highest since 1972.
According to the report, in 2012, the aluminum can industry was able to recycle almost 62 billion domestic and imported cans, and ship 92 billion cans across the US. This also means the US saved energy, equivalent to 19 million barrels of crude oil, enough gas to run 1.7 millions cars for one year. UBCs are great for both the economy and environment because they can be recycled a limitless number of times — a UBC can be back in the store in as few as 60 days.
Our recycling success can be attributed to the importation of cans to the US, from countries like Mexico, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Poland, etc. — importing cans helps us to bulk up our recycling stream. A lot of money can be made from recycling UBC; it’s become a very attractive enterprise for recycling companies.
Recycling aluminum uses far less energy — 5% — than creating primary aluminum. Still, thousands of cans, amounting to $900 million, are wasted by going to the landfill, affecting our economic and environmental prosperity. The aluminum industry promotes recycling by supporting the Curbside Value Partnership, which helps to bolster participation in curbside recycling programs in the US.
A lot of work has already been done to achieve this 68% recycling rate , more dedicated work still needs to be done to achieve the self-imposed goal of 75% recycling rate and still lot more to be done to achieve world champion on Brazil’s rate of 98%.
A lot of hard work is still to come, and with a lot more rewards — economic, environmental and most importantly, a favorable public opinion. We should be looking for sustainable packaging among the many alternatives.
Useful Related Links:
Brazil Remains Aluminum Can Recycling Champion
Brazil remains leader in aluminum can recycling
Novelis hopes to raise US recycling rates with its ‘evercan’ Project
Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan
November 11, 2013
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