The metal can industry has over decades invested millions of dollars to increase awareness about the importance and positive impact of recycling cans and to build upon the can’s leading recycling rates among all food and beverage containers.
Aluminum Beverage Can Recycling Rate Targets
CMI beverage can manufacturer and aluminum can sheet producer members have committed to achieving ambitious U.S. recycling rate targets including a 70 percent recycling rate by 2030. These targets will improve the circularity of the aluminum beverage can while demonstrating to beverage companies and consumers the industry’s dedication to ensuring the aluminum beverage can remains the most sustainable package on the market. CMI believes it will achieve its aluminum beverage can recycling rate goals through activities in four pillars of action. They published the Aluminum Beverage Can Recycling Rate Primer and Roadmap to show how these targets can be achieved. Visit our targets page to learn more.
Aluminum Can Capture Equipment in Material Recovery Facilities (MRF)
Without used beverage cans (UBC), most MRFs separating single stream recyclables would not be able to operate. UBCs are typically the most valuable commodity in the recycling stream. Yet, up to 25 percent of cans are missorted at the MRF into the bales of other commodities such as plastic PET bottles and mixed paper, as well as the non-recyclable pile. CMI has worked with a coalition to make capital available and take other action to get additional can capture equipment in MRFs to prevent can missorting. With funding from Ardagh Metal Packaging and Crown Holdings, the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) is taking a comprehensive approach to spurring the installation of additional can capture equipment in material recovery facilities (MRFs). It started with foundational research in 2020, a grant program with The Recycling Partnership in 2021, tools for MRF operators in 2022, and now additional grant and lease options in 2023. Visit this page to read CMI’s full report on the opportunity, see an infographic depicting the opportunity, watch a webinar about the opportunity featuring the insights of MRF operators, government representatives and investors and see the press releases of the individual grant and lease recipients. MRF operators interested in having testing done at their facility or financing options from CMI should reach out to Scott Breen, CMI’s Vice President of Sustainability, at email@example.com.
Beverage Container Deposits
Deposit return programs play a vital role in raising the aluminum can’s recycling rate. A national deposit rate could have significant climate, economic and industry opportunities. CMI and its aluminum can sheet suppliers have developed key elements that are essential for well-designed deposit systems at the state and federal levels. These elements are based on our principles, which we continue to refine as we learn more and through dialogue with key partners. Read more about them on Cancentral.com/RecyclingRefunds.
The Million Cans Recycling Contest
CMI and its members are working with Scrap University Kids to sponsor The Million Cans Recycling Contest! This is a competition between nine schools to see who can recycle the most aluminum cans from October 2023 to May 2024. Each school is partnered with a local scrap yard where their cans are recycled. Schools are located near eight can manufacturers or aluminum can sheet companies in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas and are earning money for their school by recycling cans and competing for prizes (1st place – $3000, 2nd place – $1000, 3rd place – $500). Students at the schools get a FREE copy of The Girl Who Recycled 1 Million Cans, which teaches students about the importance of recycling. The program is teaching the value of recycling while helping the schools and their communities. Learn more at https://kids.scrapuniversity.com/millioncans/.
Mardi Gras Recycling Initiative
In 2023, CMI catalyzed a partnership with a variety of local organizations in the to recycle more aluminum beverage cans during Mardi Gras 2023. Instead of going to landfill, many thousands of aluminum beverage cans were sold for revenue that CMI doubled and went to charity or local residents. Notably, the aluminum in those beverage cans will now be available to be turned into new cans. Learn more at cancentral.com/mardigras
Metal Recycles ForeverTM Logo
The can industry is working to increase awareness of Metal Recycles Forever among consumers by having food and beverage companies place the Metal Recycles ForeverTM logo on cans. This logo aligns with global messaging that has informed and inspired consumers. It also is supported by recent Penn State University research that finds recycling messaging that emphasizes the transformational nature of the material leads to higher recycling rates. It is not surprising that 70 percent of U.S. consumers said seeing the Metal Recycles ForeverTM logo would motivate them to recycle the packaging. You can view this document to learn more about the benefits of using the Metal Recycles ForeverTM logo on cans. Please contact Scott Breen, CMI’s vice president of sustainability, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in using the Metal Recycles ForeverTM logo.