The Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) released recycling figures for 2008 showing that 54.2 percent of aluminum cans were recycled in 2008, making it once again the most commonly recycled beverage container.
For manufacturer Alcoa, whose President Kevin Anton is also chairman of the Aluminum Association, this is the next step toward a goal of 75 percent recycling by 2015.
The only curbside recyclable with a higher recycling rate is steel, which is buoyed by strong numbers for car and construction material recycling, to put it over 65 percent.
"This shows recycling rates for cans [are] strong and can makers are committed to their continual increase," Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute tells Greener Package. "Higher recycling rates deliver the endlessly recyclable benefits for cans, reducing carbon emissions, virgin material use and energy expenditure."
Both these metals can be recycled continuously and can be turned back into metal containers and other metal products. However, the decrease in demand for metal has led to financial concerns for scrap metal recyclers, in addition to decreased recycling values.
When recycled, an aluminum can is typically back on store shelves within two months. It also takes 95 percent less energy to manufacture a new can using recycled aluminum.