Milwaukee area recycling facility receives beverage can capture grant

Milwaukee Area Recycling Facility Receives Check for Aluminum Beverage Can Capture Grant. Pictured (left to right) from the City of Milwaukee, Rick Meyers, sanitation services manager, and Samantha Longshore, resource recovery program manager, and from Waukesha County, Analiese Smith, recycling and solid waste supervisor, and Alan Barrows, land resources manager.

Ardagh Metal Packaging and Crown Holdings have funded a new aluminium can capture grant awarded to a recycling facility jointly owned by City of Milwaukee and Waukesha County to install equipment that will capture crushed or flattened cans mis-sorted into the material destined for the landfill.

Once installed in the recycling sortation facility, this equipment will result in more than 27 million more aluminium beverage cans captured annually.

When more than 27 million additional cans are captured and recycled each year at this one facility, it will generate more than $400,000 in new annual revenue and produce enough energy savings each year to power more than 10 million US homes for one hour. Furthermore, the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions avoided each year will be the same as is generated from an average passenger vehicle driving nearly seven million miles, which is the distance from New York to San Francisco a little more than 2,300 times.

While recycling equipment called eddy currents are effective at sorting out aluminium packaging from the rest of the single stream recyclables at a material recovery facility (MRF), crushed or flattened cans can occasionally be lost prior to when the recyclables are run through a facility’s existing eddy current. Placing additional eddy currents elsewhere at a MRF helps to capture mis-sorted cans.

The facility, a single-stream MRF operated by Republic Services, processes 65,000 tons of material per year from the City of Milwaukee and 26 communities in Waukesha County. The Milwaukee area recycling facility is the fourth MRF to receive funding from a grant programme facilitated by Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI). CMI partnered with The Recycling Partnership to evaluate and select the grantees, execute the grant programme and provide technical assistance to ensure successful implementation. Earlier this year, The Recycling Partnership also worked with the City of Milwaukee to deploy more than 18,600 recycling carts and fund a city-wide education and outreach effort to support the transition to universal, every-other-week recycling collection. More than 10 million new pounds of recyclables, including cans, will be collected each year through this curbside recycling programme upgrade. The can capture equipment investment in the Milwaukee area recycling system will help make sure that the increased volume of cans collected at curbside due to the cart deployment and education effort is sorted properly and ultimately made into new cans.

“Thank you to Ardagh and Crown for investing in recycling facilities to help more aluminum beverage cans complete their circular journey to becoming a new can,” said Rick Meyers, sanitation services manager for the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works. “This additional eddy current will help us ensure increased capture of aluminium beverage cans, which will deliver significant revenue to help sustain city services as well as enable our residents to make a larger environmental impact from recycling.”

The grant programme builds off the CMI research released last year that found it is critical to capture all used beverage cans (UBC) flowing through MRFs, which play the vital role of sorting single stream recyclables. This research concluded that most MRFs in the United States would not be able to operate without the revenue from UBCs considering they are consistently the most valuable material among the leading beverage packages in the recycling stream. Capturing more beverage cans means a healthier recycling system.

“Can Manufacturers Institute members Ardagh and Crown are catalysing a significant environmental and economic impact through funding these can capture grants at US recycling sortation facilities that result in many millions more aluminum beverage cans recycled annually,” said CMI president Robert Budway. “These cans will now complete their circular journey, which almost always is into a new can within 60 days, and this circular journey can happen infinitely since metal recycles forever.”

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