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Environmental Protection & Preservation

U.S. Aluminum Can Recycling Steady in 2006

The Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) today announced statistics indicating that Americans and the aluminum industry recycled 51,9 billion aluminum cans in 2006, half a billion more than in 2005. It has the highest recycling rate of any beverage container at 51.6 percent.

The aluminum beverage can is the most recycled consumer beverage product in the United States and has been for more than 20 years. In the U.S., 100.6 billion cans were produced in 2006 and the cans recycled equaled approximately 1.52 billion pounds.

"The aluminum can is the most valuable packaging material to recycle," said Patrick M. Franc, chairman of The Aluminum Association and president of ARCO Aluminum, Inc. "The practice of recycling aluminum cans provides environmental, economic, and social benefits to communities and organizations across the country."

"Aluminum cans continue to provide our customers and consumers with an exceptional environmental package of choice," said Robert Budway, president of the Can Manufacturers Institute. "When you recycle it gets better and better compounding the benefits."

Recycling conserves energy, saves precious resources and minimizes consumer and production waste. A can that is recycled can be back on the store shelf in just 60 days. And it requires 95 percent less energy and generates 95 percent less emissions.

The aluminum can industry continues to actively promote recycling through the Curbside Value Partnership (CVP). CVP is a national recycling program that helps communities grow participation in residential curbside recycling programs and measures their effectiveness. Recycling reduces carbon emissions and helps combat climate change; so it is more important than ever to help re-energize community recycling.

Funded by the Aluminum Association and the Can Manufacturers Institute and their members - Alcoa, Anheuser-Busch Recycling, ARCO, Ball Corporation, Novelis and REXAM, CVP is engaged with more than 40 communities. Partner communities have seen an average increase of 22 percent in recycling volume and 20 percent in participation. Additionally, hundreds of other communities have benefited from the best practices and resources shared on-line at and in print in the quarterly newsletter Bin Buzz.

The aluminum can industry supports the domestic market for aluminum cans through marketing, research and recycling initiatives. Other programs include the Cans for Habitat for Humanity recycling partnership, the Recycle Challenge school drop-off program, can advertising promotions, recycling promotion, student environmental education programs, school and civic organization collection programs, and other projects. The aluminum can industry recognizes and promotes the value and importance of recycling.

The aluminum beverage can is 100 percent recyclable into new beverage cans indefinitely - a demonstration of recycling at its finest. Today's beverage can is lighter than ever with 34.21 cans per pound of aluminum, almost 10 percent lighter than in 2004.

The aluminum can is the only packaging material that more than covers the cost of collection and re-processing for itself. It also helps subsidize the collection of other recyclable materials.

"The scrap recycling industry is encouraged that despite the modest year-over-year growth, the report shows an increase in the volume of recycled cans," said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. "This demonstrates that the all-aluminum can continues to be recognized as a valuable recyclable commodity."

Recycling saves energy. Recycling 40 aluminum beverage cans has the energy-saving equivalent of one gallon of gasoline. During 2006, Americans recycled enough aluminum cans to conserve the energy equivalent of over 15 million barrels of oil.

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