A new report from the Cannery Manufacturers Association , based on an evaluation of three beverage packaging typesaluminum: cans, glass bottles, and plastic PET bottles. Professionals found that aluminum cans have the highest cycle performance. The recovery rate of aluminum cans collected in the U.S. is 80%. Waste recycled beverage cans are recycled and remade into new beverage containers, because the cycle performance of aluminum cans is the best, compared with 59% of glass bottles and only 13% of plastic PET bottles.
More than 80% of recycled beverage cans are recycled and remade into new beverage containers, compared with 59% of glass bottles and only 13% of plastic PET bottles. Aluminum is one of the most commonly recycled metals in the country. It is also 100% recyclable: no integrity or quality is lost in the process. An incredible 75% of the aluminum that was once produced is still in use today. Before aluminum cans are recycled and reused, they have to go through a long and complex process, including manufacturing metal, using materials to make cans, for consumers to use, and then recycling. Beverage companies manufacture their canned products. Consumers either throw away or recycle empty cans after drinking. Americans throw away aluminum cans worth more than 700 million U.S. dollars every year.
When they are recycled, the aluminum cans are transported to a scrap metal facility where they will be melted for reuse.
The molten form of recycled aluminum will undergo the same manufacturing process as the original. This reuse is called secondary production of primary aluminum. Due to the characteristics of aluminum, secondary production can be repeated, and used cans can be recycled in as little as 60 days and used by consumers again. In addition, recycling tanks can save up to 95% of energy consumption to make new tanks through primary production.
“It’s important to keep in mind that a product only achieves a high circular performance in a properly functioning circular system,” said James Souder, lead author and sustainability consultant at Metabolic. “All materials could be handled in a non-circular way. So it’s critical that we look not only at each material’s properties but also at the systemic factors that influence how each material is collected, processed, and reintegrated into new products while finding key points to shift the system towards a more circular and sustainable future.”