Study confirms aluminium cans as global leader in recycling

According to a new analysis by Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), aluminium beverage cans are the most recycled drinks package in the world.

Commissioned by the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), Beverage Can Makers Europe (BCME) and Abralatas in Brazil, the study used global recycling data to calculate and validate the global recyclability rates for aluminium, PET and glass beverage containers. The study established a global weighted average recycling rate for aluminium at 69%, compared to PET at 43% and glass at 46%.

The study prioritised markets with accessible recycling data and then verified and validated the data for 82% of the aluminium can global market (representing 21 countries), 79% of the PET bottle global market (representing 23 countries), and 79% of the glass bottle global market (representing 22 countries). The study identified aluminium recycling rates at 98% in Brazil, 79% in Poland, 77% in Japan, 72% in Italy and 55% in the US.

Speaking on the results of the study, RRS vice president Anne Johnson, said: “Data on beverage container recycling rates for 25 countries, representing 80% of the global market, were reviewed and validated by the RRS Data Analytics Team. Even with factoring in the data reliability for each container type by comparing high and low error ranges, RRS determined that aluminium beverage containers remain the most recycled container globally. A key finding of the RRS data review is that much could be done to improve the reporting of recycling data in most markets, through more harmonised definitions of recycling and reporting methods.”

CMI President Robert Budway, said: “Aluminium beverage cans are, by far, the leader of beverage container recycling in the US.

“Although we have always felt confident about making a global claim, we wanted third-party certification.  We hope that beverage companies and consumers around the globe will recognise the importance of continuing to recycle this valuable material.”

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