U.S. Air Force Academy Wins First Place in Commander-in-Chief's Recycling Challenge for the Second Year in a Row

Service Academies Recycle More Than 9,400 Pounds of Beverage Cans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 8, 2017 – For the second year in a row, the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) won the Great American Can Roundup’s (GACR) Commander-in-Chief’s Challenge for recycling more cans per cadet than any other Service Academy. Their 4,117 cadets recycled total of 3,507 pounds of cans.  The academy receives a $3,000 that will be used for their Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs.

Sponsored by the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), the GACR spreads awareness of the environmental benefits of recycling aluminum cans. This year’s challenge had 100% participation from all four service academies. In 10 weeks, more than 9,400 pounds of aluminum beverage cans were recycled.

All other four service academies did a respectable job recycling aluminum cans.  The United States Military Academy had 4,240 cadets recycling 2,657 pounds of cans (average .63 per cadet).   The United States Naval Academy had 4,496 midshipman recycling 2,780 (96 midshipmen participating, which is (.62 per midshipmen). The Coast Guard had 978 cadets recycling 497 pounds of cans (average 51 per cadet).

In addition to the overall winner, CMI also rewards the highest recycling company or squadron at each Academy. This year, the Naval Academy’s 5th Company recycled the most at the Naval Academy and far more than any other company or squadron across all of the academies. The Awards Ceremony at the Pentagon was hosted by Mr. Karnig Ohannessian, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Environment and attended by Ms. Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health) - Office of the Secretary of Defense. Robert Budway, President - CMI, presented the winning company with a plaque, along with $500 for their Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs.

“Sustainability and protecting of our environment is a core value of the Department of Defense,” said Sullivan. In speaking to the midshipman, she said, “As futures leaders of your organization you’re going to have opportunities to engage in sustainability in small and large efforts throughout your career and I hope the lessons that you are learning from this are going to help you in terms of understanding that those waste streams going out can be a valuable resource coming back in to the supply chain.”

“CMI is thrilled with the example these young men and women of our nation’s military academies are setting through their environmentally responsible recycling activities,” said Budway. “The aluminum beverage can is endlessly recyclable, so in a world that is increasingly concerned about scarce resources, aluminum cans have the ability to be recycled over and over, without losing their strength or quality.”

The CMI GACR initiative promotes and engages community recycling involvement, sponsors recycling events and distributes educational materials on the importance of environmental stewardship.  Other challenges engage schools (K-12) and the industry in working to encourage communities in recycling activities.

For more information about the can’s sustainability attributes, visit For more information about the Great American Can Roundup, visit


Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) CMI is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. The can industry accounts for the annual domestic production of approximately 124 billion food, beverage and other metal cans; which employs more than 28,000 people with plants in 33 states, Puerto Rico and American Samoa; and generates about $17.8 billion in direct economic activity. Our members are committed to providing safe, nutritious and refreshing canned food and beverages to consumers. 

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