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2013: USA recycles two out of every three aluminium cans

United States – Aluminium cans have maintained their position as the most recycled beverage packaging type in the USA with an industry recycling rate of 66.7% in 2013, according to new data released by the Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). This marks the third consecutive year that the rate has held above 65% compared to an average for the previous decade of 54%.

‘Recycled aluminum is a highly-valued commodity for new production,’ notes ISRI president Robin Wiener. ‘Representing the first link in the manufacturing process, recyclers are key to ensuring used beverage cans are quickly returned to store shelves in a manner that economically and environmentally benefits the consumer while costing less energy to produce.’

A used beer or soda can is often recycled and back on the shelves within 60 days, the three organisations point out. While the rate of industry can recycling has risen significantly over the past decade, much of the growth in recent years has come from the addition of used cans imported by recyclers into the USA, including from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

Although the number of imported aluminium cans fell slightly last year, this decline was offset by the additional volume of cans recycled by US consumers. At the same time, it has been calculated that US$ 812 million worth of aluminium cans escaped recycling in the USA last year and ended up in landfills – a fact said by the three organisations to underline the ‘enormous opportunity’ still surrounding this form of packaging.

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