When compared to other substrates such as plastic and aseptic containers, metal’s mettle shines through to an undeniable degree.
Beverage cans feature the most recycled content on average compared to other formats. Consumers recycle aluminum cans at a rate of 69% on average, globally—more than double the rate that they recycle plastic bottles and aseptic containers.
Beverage cans offer a 60-day turnaround from point of consumption to appearing back on the shelf, allowing the same beverage can to be used six times per year. PET bottles are instead often missorted due to paper labels, inks, etc. that interfere with processing, sending them to landfills. Aseptic containers are also likely to end up in landfills, as they must be downcycled into composite materials that may not make it through the recycling stream at end of life.
Beverage cans help to fund the entire recycling system due to their inherent and increasing value as a substrate. As of 2021, cans were valued at over $1300 per ton, more than 4x that of PET bottles and nearly 60x more than aseptic containers—underscoring the importance of recapturing and reusing the material.