In 1993, Americans recycled 59.5 billion aluminum cans, 3 billion more than in 1991, and raised the national aluminum can recycling rate to 2 out of every 3 cans. Aluminum can recycling saves 95% of the energy needed to make aluminum from bauxite ore. Energy savings in 1993 alone were enough to light a city the size of Pittsburgh for six years. .
Source: Can Manufacturing Institute
In America, 1,500 aluminum cans are recycled every second. In 1989, Americans used 80 billion aluminum cans. We recycled 60% of aluminum cans in 1989. Making cans from recycled aluminum cuts related air pollution (for example, sulfur dioxides, which create acid rain) by 95%. Americans throw away enough aluminum every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet. A quarter of all aluminum goes into packaging. The all-aluminum can was introduced in 1964. A paper grocery sack holds about 1.5 pounds of empty aluminum cans
Source: EarthWorks Group’s- The Recycler’s Handbook
Aluminum Cans have value: In 1993, some $800 million was spent by industry to get aluminum cans back. Since the early 1970’s, Americans have earned $6.4 billion from their efforts. These returns are then invested in local economies. Aluminum Represents only 0.8% of solid waste: According to the U.S. EPA, aluminum cans represent less than 1% (0.8%) of the nation’s solid waste stream. Aluminum can makers and recyclers are committed to increasing the national recycling rate in order to drive that percentage even lower.
Source: The Aluminum Can Recycling Success Story 1994
In 1996, Americans recycled 63.5% of the 99 billion aluminum cans produced.
Source: ” Recycling and Buy Recycled Fact Sheets” America Recycles Day
· Back on The Shelf in 90 Days: Truly recyclable, the aluminum beverage can returns to the grocer’s shelf as a new, filled can in as little as 90 days after collection, remelting, rolling, manufacturing, and distribution. That means a consumer could purchase basically the same recycled aluminum can from a grocer’s shelf every 13 weeks, or 4 times a year.
· 35% Less Aluminum To Make A Can: In 1972, it took almost one pound of aluminum to make 21.75 cans. Today, through lightweighting, a process of using less material to make a new can, 1 pound of aluminum makes approximately 29.51 cans- a 35% improvement over 1972. Already during the 1990’s 8 billion pounds of aluminum were saved.
· Each Minute, 113,204 Cans Are Recycled: Every minute of everyday, an average of 113,204 aluminum cans are recycled. Aluminum can manufacturers and their suppliers have programs in place throughout the country that have helped increase the number of recycled aluminum cans by 40% in just the past five years. Source: Can Manufacturers Institute
The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) estimates that the 36 billion aluminum cans landfilled last year had a scrap value of more than $600 million. “We are literally throwing money away when we don’t reclaim valuable resources,” said Pat Franklin, Executive Director of CRI. “Over the past twenty years we’ve trashed more than 11 million tons of aluminum beverage cans worth over $12 billion on today’s market. Some day we’ll be mining our landfills for the resources we’ve buried.”
Source: The Container Recycling Institute, April 11, 1997
In 1996, scrap aluminum consumption was 4.31 million tons. The weight of aluminum recovered in 1996 was 3.64 million tons. There were over 1.8 million tons of aluminum in 1997 model-year cars assembled in the U.S. Of that , 1.35 million tons consisted of castings while the remainder consisted of mill products.
Source: The Aluminum Association
Aluminum Packaging Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Facts:
Generated: 1,970,000 tons or 0.9% of MSW by weight.
· 1,620,000 tons of cans per year.
· 350,000 tons of foil per year.
· 14.86 pounds of packaging per person per year.
· 12.22 pounds of cans and 2.64 pounds of foil per person per year.
· 99 billion aluminum or 374 cans per person were used in 1995.
· A single aluminum can weighs approximately ½ ounce.
Recycled: 1.02 million tons for a 51.8% aluminum packaging recycling rate.
· 990,000 tons for a 62.7% can recycling rate.
· Industry data shows a 63.5% beverage can recycling rate in 1996.
· 30,000 tons for an 8.6% foil recycling rate.
Recycled Content: 51.6% for cans in 1996 according to industry data.
Incinerated or Landfilled : 950,000 tons or 0.6% of discarded MSW by weight. 630,000 tons of cans and 320,000 tons of foil.
Landfill Volume: 6.1 million cubic yards or 1.4% of landfilled MSW (1992 EPA estimates). 5 million cubic yard of cans and 1.1 million cubic yards of foil.
Landfilled aluminum cans weigh 250 pounds per cubic yard. Landfilled foil weighs 550 pounds per cubic yard. Loose aluminum cans have a density of 50 to 74 pounds per cubic yard. Flattened cans have a density of 250 pounds per cubic yard.
Source Reduction In 1974, 22.92 cans weighed one pound. In 1996, 31.92 cans weighed a pound.
Source: Aluminum Association (Washington, D.C.)
Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States
Measurements Standards and Reporting Guidelines, National Recycling Coalition
Scrap Specifications Circular 1997,
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries ( Washington, D.C.)
Waste Age’s Recycling Times
Waste Recyclers Council
Soft Drink Container Recycling Rates ( 1996)
Aluminum Cans………. 63.5 percent
Glass Bottles………….. 36.0 percent
PET Bottles…………… 38.6 percent
Total Average………….57.6 percent
Aluminum Can Recycling Rates
1994………………… 65.4 percent
1995………………… 62.2 percent
1996………………… 63.5 percent
Source: National Soft Drink Association