Tag Archives: recycle

Plastic Free July



Aluminum Cans – CA$H in your hand?

No other material offers the versatility and environmental benefits of aluminum.

Aluminum is infinitely recyclable making it the material of choice for balancing the demand of a growing economy with the need to preserve the environment.

Since the first industrial production of aluminum in the 1880s, 75% of all material produced is still in use today.

The benefits

Aluminum recycling provides significant energy savings in multiple sectors:

Recycling aluminum requires 95% less energy, and produces 95% fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), than manufacturing primary aluminum. That is a GHG saving equivalent to taking 900,000 cars off the road for 12 months.

Today, the global aluminum recycling industry prevents close to 170 million tonnes of GHG from entering the environment every year.

Recycling 1 tonne of aluminum avoids the emission of about 9 tonnes of CO2 emissions – just 1 tonne of CO2 is equivalent to driving nearly 3,000 miles.

Recycling aluminum reduces the use of natural resources and chemicals (caustic soda, aluminum fluoride and lime) and eliminates the need for bauxite ore to be mined.

More than one million tons of aluminum containers and packaging (soda cans, TV dinner trays, aluminum foil) are thrown away each year.

Americans throw away enough aluminum every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

Recycling aluminum beverage cans

The aluminum beverage can is the world’s most recycled packaging container.

Eight billion aluminum beverage cans are sold in the UK every year, and each one could be recycled over and over again, saving energy, raw materials and waste.  In the US, approximately 36 billion aluminum cans are landfilled annually. The cans that were thrown away had an estimated scrap value of more than $600 million.


It is estimated that over the past twenty years, the US population has trashed more than 11 million tons of aluminum beverage cans worth over $12 billion on today’s market.

A used aluminum beverage can can be recycled, reprocessed, remade and ready for re-sale in around 60 days.

In a whole year, that one can could be recycled eight times, saving enough energy to make 160 new cans.

Making one aluminum beverage can from raw materials uses the same amount of energy that it takes to recycle 20.  And if you really want to put this into an everyday context – recycling just one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours or keep a 100 watt lightbulb burning for four hours.

100 watt lightbulb

The future

Globally, close to 70% of all aluminum beverage cans are recycled, making it the world’s most recycled packaging product. Because aluminum is infinitely recyclable, it can be reused in applications vastly different from its previous purpose, and it can also be recast into its original form.

These properties make aluminum an ideal material for use in premium applications, even after being recycled many times. For example, a 50-year-old building facade can be recycled into the aluminum needed for the engine block of a new car with no degradation in quality.

So next time you go to throw that can of soda away – just remember you are throwing HARD CA$H away.