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U. S. Aluminum Recycling Rate Reaches 11 Year High

Nearly 56 billion aluminum cans were recycled in 2010, the highest rate in more than a decade.

In 2010, 58.1% of all aluminum cans in the U.S. were recycled, according to The Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI). The new statistic represents the highest level of recycling in more than 10 years, a rate that is more than double that of any other beverage container.

Aluminum beverage cans are unique in that they can be infinitely recycled back into new cans, keeping waste out of landfills and providing a significant amount of the material to make new cans.  Aluminum cans not only have the highest recycling rate of all beverage packages, they also contain the greatest amount of recycled content–– at 68%.

And, producing a can from recycled material takes only about 5% of the energy used to make new cans, so the high recycling rate can produce significant energy savings for beverage producers and consumers alike.  The amount of energy saved just from recycling cans in 2010 is equal to the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil, or nearly two days of all U.S. oil imports.

“There’s a huge difference between what’s recyclable and what’s actually recycled,” said CMI President Robert Budway, via press release.  “Not only are cans infinitely recyclable back into new cans, they actually are being recycled at a rate nearly twice that of every other beverage package.  This, coupled with the fact that aluminum cans have the highest recycled content and provide the longest shelf life of any beverage package, underscores why the can truly is a sustainable solution for twenty-first century packaging.”

In 2008, the Aluminum Association adopted a goal of recycling 75% of aluminum cans by 2015.  The recycling rate at that time was 54.2%, netting a greater than 4% increase in just 3 years.

More than 4.6 million metric tons of aluminum scrap was recycled in the U.S. and shipped throughout the United States and more than 50 countries last year alone.

“Of course we must do more at the federal, state and local levels to enact recycling policies and awareness, and this is a task we continue to pursue aggressively.  We continue to look for partners who are also sincere about making a real change in how we approach recycling in the U.S. today,” said Steve Larkin, President, The Aluminum Association.

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.

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