Aluminum cans were recycled at a rate of 66.7 percent in 2013, remaining the most recycled beverage packaging type in the United States, according to a new report.
The rate stayed above 65 percent for the third consecutive year, compared to an average rate of 54 percent reported during the previous decade, according to a study by the Aluminum Association, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI).
The Aluminum Association began reporting an annual aluminum can recycling rate in 1972, with a rate of 15.4 percent.
Much of the growth in recent years has come from U.S. recyclers increasing their importing of cans. The number of imported cans decreased slightly in 2013, but that was offset by a modest increase in can recycling by U.S. consumers, according to a news release.
In contrast, $812 million worth of aluminum cans were not recycled in 2013. These landfilled cans, the groups point out, present a great environmental and economic opportunity.
The recycling rate is based on survey input of used beverage container melting facilities, including can sheet producers, can manufacturers and secondary producers of aluminum, which represents nearly all can recycling activity in the United States.