Cans themselves are completely recyclable and recycled at far higher rates than other beverage containers. Consumers recycle nearly 50% of aluminum beverage containers, versus 40% of glass bottles and 30% of plastic ones (PET = polyethylene terephthalate).
On average, aluminum cans are composed of 70% recycled content. That’s more than 3X the recycled content of EPA estimates for glass or plastic. When producing a can from recycled material it only takes 8% of the energy that is needed to produce new aluminum.
It is also true that cans help make local recycling programs possible because the aluminum scrap is worth more, and subsidizes the cost of lesser valued materials. Per ton, aluminum can scrap is worth $1186, while plastic and glass are worth $226 and -$17, respectively.
The aluminum can business has continued to work on decreasing the weight of its cans over the past 40 years while still maintaining durability and strength – it has done so by 40%. Making it the lightest material used per fluid ounce, 1.07 grams to be exact. Since it weighs less you can achieve better shipping efficiency and produce less waste. This allows brands like ORAC Beverages to package and ship more product with less material.
It was found in a 2016 study by ICF International that the combined transportation greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and those related to refrigeration of beverages, were lower for those in aluminum cans than in glass or plastic bottles under the same conditions, comparatively. When being delivered and chilled in small markets and convenience stores, per container, the emissions produced by beverages packaged in a 12-oz aluminum can is 45% lower than in a 12-oz glass bottle or 49% lower than in a 20-oz plastic bottle. Regardless of size, “across all scenarios studied, aluminum has lower associated use-phase emissions than comparable glass or plastic containers.” – Marian Van Pelt, Vice President Climate Change and Sustainability at ICF International (A global consulting services company.)
We at ORAC Beverages plan to do our part in leaving less of an environmental footprint!
*Data supplied by The Aluminum Association