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US grants save millions of ‘missorted’ aluminium cans from landfill

Ardagh Group and Crown Holdings are funding an aluminium can recovery grant, which has been awarded to GEL Recycling’s facility in Port Orange, Florida. The investment will help the recycler install additional can processing equipment as part of a larger facility upgrade.

GEL Recycling says the investment will be used to purchase metal detectors to complement its optical sorting system. This will allow its dual-stream recycling plant to recover almost 3.5 million more beverage cans that were previously missorted. Another benefit is that the upgrade will generate more than US$ 56 000 (EUR 48 000) in extra annual revenue while producing enough energy savings to power 1.4 million homes for one hour. The facility currently processes 24 000 tonnes of packaging per year.

GEL Recycling is the third recycler to receive funding from a grant programme facilitated by the US Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), in collaboration with The Recycling Partnership. The grant programme builds off their research, stating it is ‘critical’ to capture all used beverage cans flowing through material recycling facilities (MRFs), which play the vital role of sorting single stream recyclables.

The report argues that most MRFs across America would not be able to operate without the revenue from aluminium beverage cans seeing as they are the ‘most valuable’ beverage package material in the recycling stream.

‘The environmental and economic impact of recycling aluminium cans is astounding,’ comments CMI President Robert Budway. ‘Can manufacturers like Ardagh and Crown ultimately convert billions of used beverage cans into new cans each year, which is why the aluminium beverage can is the textbook example of the circular economy. These grants ensure millions more aluminium beverage cans complete the circular journey into new cans, which can happen infinitely since metal recycles forever.’

The two previous grants were awarded to Independent Texas Recyclers (Houston) and Curbside Management (Ashville). Their new equipment will see an additional 36 million aluminium cans recycled every year. Additional grants will be announced later this year.

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