Earlier this month, a report released by the Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) found the aluminum can to be the most recycled and highest value beverage container on the market today.

Information from the May 2015 report, “The Aluminum Can Advantage: Key Sustainability Indicators 2015,” may seem biased at first, but the facts are undeniable.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Aluminum cans have the highest recycling rate of any beverage container

On Average, aluminum cans contain 70 percent recycled content, which is more than three times the recycled content of glass or plastic (PET) bottles. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 23 percent recycled content for glass and 3 percent recycled content for plastic bottles.

Over the past six years, the industry recycling rate has risen more than 12 points to 66.5 percent – and has held at this historically high level since 2012.


“The continued success of aluminum can recycling is a testament to our industry’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” says Robert Budway, president of CMI. “Americans know when they are tasting a refreshing canned beverage that they are purchasing America’s most recycled beverage package.”

Recovery and recycling across the aluminum industry are on the rise in America. The industry today collects about 11.5 billion pounds of aluminum each year for recycling – more than twice the amount of aluminum collected in the 1980s and nearly 20 percent more than averages in the early 2000s. At the same time, more than 70 percent of U.S. aluminum production today is in producing secondary, or recycled, metal.

Making a can from recycled aluminum saves 92 percent of the energy required to make a new can.

Aluminum can scrap is worth more

Aluminum can scrap is worth about $1,500 per ton versus $385 per ton for plastic and $0 per ton for glass. The high value of material for aluminum helps make municipal recycling programs financially viable and effectively subsidizes the recycling of less valuable materials in the bin.

Aluminum cans have gotten lighter

Aluminum cans have reduced their weight by 38 percent since 1972, down to 12.99 grams on average. Aluminum cans are about 15 times lighter than standard 12 oz. glass bottles, allowing brands to package and transport more beverages using less material.

Bellingham-based RE Sources for Sustainable Communities urges breweries to package in cans

“As canned beer is becoming more widely adopted throughout the nation, the Pacific Northwest has been behind the curve in consumer uptake. RE Sources endeavors to crush the can stigma in this region with our power to organize people and spread an idea,” says Hannah Coughlin, Manager of Communications and Development for RE Sources, and organizer of the Yes, We CAN! festival. “As breweries are discovering the economic practicalities and product integrity enjoyed by packaging in cans, we want to see smart packaging choices rewarded by consumers. And we want to see breweries standing tall and proudly announcing, ‘Yes, We CAN!’”

Local canned beer news

This Saturday, May 30, Aslan Brewing will be packaging some of its beer in cans for the first time, and Kulshan Brewing will be opening its second brewery, K2, to the public, which features a brand-new canning line. And Elizabeth Station is now selling Crowlers (think can + growler), which are 32-ounce, single-use cans.

Also coming up, don’t forget to buy your tickets to the Yes, We CAN! Canned Craft Beer Festival on the Fourth of July. It’s going to be a huge, all-ages street festival with beer from more than 40 breweries, live music, circus performers, games for the whole family, delicious street food and more. Tickets are only $20 in advance, and they include 3 drink tickets. Kids 14 and under get in free. Buy tickets herelearn more here … or win two tickets here!

Click here to read about all the benefits of cans.