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Leasing scheme for MRF targets ‘mis-sorted’ cans

Three US organisations are providing financing to allow recyclers to lease aluminium can recovery equipment so they may realise sorting best practices.

Recent tests conducted at three US-based MRFs show that between 7 and 37 cans are missorted every minute. The average annual revenue loss is estimated to be around US$ 71 940 (EUR 68 245) using a five-year average of can scrap prices.

If the three MRFs included in the test were to install additional equipment that captured all the cans at the points tested, they could recover 22 million more cans ever year. This scrap is said to be worth over US$ 350 000 and provide enough energy savings to power nearly 1000 US homes for a full year.

That’s why Ardagh Metal Packaging (AMP), Crown Holdings and the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) are offering grants so material recovery facilities (MRFs) can receive equipment at no cost and pay it off through the additional cans captured with the new sorting system.

‘CMI modeling finds that if all of the more than 350 MRFs sorting residential recyclables across the United States had perfect sortation of used beverage cans, 3.5 billion cans could potentially be captured,’ says Jennifer Cumbee, chief sustainability officer at AMP.

‘We are committed to continuing to activate additional can capture equipment in MRFs as part of our industry’s effort to build on our industry-leading recycling and recycled content rates, further strengthening the beverage can as the ideal sustainability choice for our customers.’

CMI also created two online resources for MRFs to determine the benefits of installing more can recovery equipment. One is an easy-to-use return on investment (ROI) calculator. The other is a companion playbook that explains how to test levels of can missortation and then plug the data collected into the ROI calculator. 

‘This initiative is designed to add data from the field, produce useful tools and develop new case studies of MRFs using the revenue from the cans captured from the equipment to pay for its cost,’ comments John Rost, vice president of global sustainability & regulatory affairs at Crown.

‘With these new proof points and tools, the goal is to spur recycling facilities around the country to choose to invest their own capital in capturing more cans, often the most valuable commodity flowing through MRFs.’

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