New study shows carbon emissions reduction for alu bev cans

Metal Packaging Europe, the association of European producers of rigid metal packaging and their supply chain partners, has completed a new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of aluminium beverage cans (250, 300 and 500 ml volumes).

Using the latest data available (2016), the study covers the life cycle of aluminium beverage cans produced in Europe, from raw materials extraction to manufacturing, and end-of-life.

When compared to 2006 data, the study records significant reductions in CO2-equivalent emissions. The carbon footprint has been reduced by 31% on average for the three volumes, confirming the industry’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions and to decouple production growth from its environmental footprint.

The main factors which have made this progress possible are:

  • the continuous improvements taking place in the aluminium production and can manufacturing processes
  • a reduction in can weight
  • an increase in aluminium beverage can recycling rate.

For a 330ml can, the reduction on climate change impact over the 10-year period (2006 – 2016) is 33% and includes the following key figures:

  • a 12% reduction in the aluminium ingot supply
  • a 35% reduction in electricity and heat consumption, thanks to improved efficiency of can making process, as well as a 4% reduction in body can weight
  • close to 50% increase in the aluminium beverage can recycling rate across Europe, going from 50% to 73% in 2014

The 2016 data shows that, in terms of climate change impact, the average contribution of the cans manufacturing is 18% over the life cycle. Recyclability of aluminium remains the key factor for further improvements: for every 5% increase of recycled aluminium beverage can, an average of -6% reduction on climate change impact is achievable.

“It is part of Metal Packaging Europe’s commitment to provide fact-based and unambiguous information on our industry. We are pleased with the significant progress made by our members and are confident that even higher reductions will be achieved thanks to improved recycling rates across Europe,” said Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe.

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