Aluminum can recycling rate reaches 54.2 percent.

The recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans — as calculated by the Aluminum Association (AA), the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries — climbed to 54.2 percent in 2008, a .4 percent increase from the year before.

“The aluminum can is a sustainable beverage package,” said Kevin Anton, chairman of AA and president of Alcoa Materials Management, in a press release. “A can that is recycled can be back on the store shelf in as little as 60 days. Recycling conserves energy, saves resources and minimizes consumer and production waste.”

Since a drop from 62.1 percent in 2000 to 50 percent in 2003, the U.S. recycling rate for aluminum cans has climbed steadily. In 2007, Americans recycled nearly 54 billion cans, for a recycling rate of 53.8 percent.

“This shows recycling rates for cans strong and can makers are committed to their continual increase,” added Robert Budway, president of CMI, in the release. “Higher recycling rates deliver the endlessly recyclable benefits for cans, reducing carbon emissions, virgin material use and energy expenditure.”

In August, AA set a goal of increasing the recycling rate for used aluminum beverage containers to 75 percent by 2015. It plans to achieve this target by partnering with other stakeholders, including state and local governments, to increase public education, grow the recycling infrastructure and explore new policy initiatives.

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