Today marks Global Recycling Day, which recognizes the importance recycling plays in protecting the planet and brings the world together to prioritize sustainability. Led by the Global Recycling Foundation, the annual milestone implores the public to see opportunity rather than waste and to be thoughtful about what we throw away. This mission aligns with our own goals and responsibilities as a major manufacturer of metal packaging—a primary product that is infinitely recyclable and supports a sustainable supply chain.
Within our Twentyby30 sustainability program, our approach to recycling is twofold: We are working to raise consumer and industry recycling rates in our major markets, and alongside those efforts, are aiming to improve the recycled content averages across our products. These efforts recognize that metal packaging carries tremendous recycling power—a recycled beverage can, for example, returns to a store shelf in as few as 60 days—and contributes to the circular economy. In addition, the lifespan of aluminum beverage cans in particular is considered cyclical because when made with recycled material, their production reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 90% when compared to cans made from primary materials With the knowledge that recycling 100% of aluminum cans could power four million homes for a full year, the value of this manufacturing efficiency becomes even clearer.
However, up to 25% of aluminum beverage cans entering U.S. recycling centers are missorted and miss the chance of recovery. To help solve this issue, we are working with the Can Manufacturers Institute to capture and recycle cans through a grant program. The program provides funding to Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) to support investments in new equipment, process improvement activities and sufficient support to optimize aluminum can capture.
Additionally, we are supporting efforts in the European market to communicate the infinite recyclability of aluminum beverage cans. We are investing in educational programs such as Every Can Counts, which works to “inspire, encourage and empower people to recycle their drink cans.” Having as many cans as possible successfully navigate the recycling stream requires dedication at every level—from our side, as a manufacturer, to the consumers who interact with the material throughout a can’s lifecycle.
Simultaneously in Europe, European Aluminum and Metal Packaging Europe have created a roadmap for achieving 100% can recycling by 2030. This initiative is driven by recent amendments to the European Green Deal, which saw the packaging sector as a key player in sustainability. On March 24, at 10 a.m. CET, the groups will host a webinar launching the roadmap and providing a platform to discuss how aluminum beverage cans are infinitely recyclable.