The aluminum can is considered the epitome of recycling. Rightly so? The International Aluminium Institute has published a remarkable study on the subject.
No can is left behind
It is the first comprehensive public study to analyze the recycling value chain for single-use beverage containers in five key markets: The IAI-commissioned study compares the recycling of three beverage packaging materials - aluminum, glass and plastic.
And the results are clear: aluminum cans are best at supporting circular economy. According to the study, more glass and plastic bottles end up in landfills because they are not collected, compared to aluminum cans. In addition, post-collection losses in the recycling system are three times higher for PET and glass bottles than for aluminum cans.
"Unrivalled sorting, reprocessing and remelting efficiency rate"
Eunomia Research and Consulting examined data from five regions for the study: Brazil, China, Europe, Japan and the United States. The focus was on end-of-life processing losses of aluminum cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles. The study also looked at collection, sorting, remanufacturing and thermal processing, as well as closed-loop and open-loop recycling.
Ramon Arratia, Vice President Global Public Affairs at Ball Corporation, says: “While no drinks container has achieved its full circularity potential yet, aluminium outperforms glass and plastics (PET) at all stages of the waste management system. Today, aluminium cans are the most recycled beverage containers globally. Once the aluminium can is collected from the consumer, it has an unrivalled sorting, reprocessing and remelting efficiency rate of 90% compared with glass (67%) and PET (66%). On this basis, aluminium can be described as a material of choice for a circular economy. This is especially important when we look at the carbon reduction potential of recycling.”
Read the full press release on IAI's website here.