Beverage Cans: Making a beverage can from recycled aluminum reduces energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent compared to using new aluminum.
Food Cans: Making a food can from recycled steel means 75 percent less greenhouse gas emissions and energy use compared to using virgin steel.
Aluminum and steel generate revenue for recyclers, with aluminum beverage cans typically the most valuable material in the residential recycling stream. Looking at metal recycling generally, it has a greater economic impact and supports more American jobs than the recycling of all the other commodities combined.
Aluminum and steel maintain their structural integrity during the recycling process and can be recycled infinitely. In contrast, the plastic in flexible pouches is rarely accepted in residential U.S. recycling programs, and plastic (PET) bottles can be recycled a maximum of 10 times with a third of the material lost in the recycling process. The can industry is committed to building on its leading recycling rates to generate additional environmental and economic impact.
Use the section headers on the left to further explore why metal cans are the textbook example of the circular economy and the shining stars in the recycling system.
Below are two infographics that highlight the beverage can’s economic impact and environmental impact.