THE ALUMINUM ADVANTAGES
Key Sustainability Performance Indicators for the Aluminum Industry
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod. Recycling 100 aluminum cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks.
Aluminum containers are lightweight, stackable and strong, allowing brands to package and transport more using less material.
Most of all, aluminum can be recycled over and over again in a true “closed loop” recycling process.
Industry Recycling Rate:
In 2019, the industry recycled 42.7 billion cans for an industry recycling rate of 55.9%.
Recycling aluminum saves more than 90% of the energy that would be needed to create a comparable amount of the metal from raw materials which is both a business and environmental win for the industry.
Nearly 75% of all aluminum produced is still in use today.
Believe it or not, a 10% increase in aluminum end-of-life recycling rates decreases industry greenhouse gas emissions by 15%.
Aluminum containers are unique in that they are most often recycled directly back into themselves meaning that they have a very high percentage of recycled content.
Since it takes just 8% of the energy to produce aluminum from recycled material versus producing new aluminum, high recycled content is a good indicator of environmental footprint. The recycled content calculation includes metal from both post-consumer and post-industrial scrap sources and complies with ISO reporting standards.
Value of Material
Aluminum helps make municipal recycling programs possible. Many such programs rely on re-selling recycled material and the high value of aluminum in the recycling stream effectively subsidizes the recycling of less valuable materials in the bin.
The report finds that aluminum scrap is worth $1,210/ton on average versus $237/ton for plastic (PET) and $21/ton for glass. Without aluminum, very few curbside pickup programs would be financially viable.