Aluminum packaging looks very well-positioned in the new “green revolution”. Everything is going green these days – green computing, green buildings, green energy, and of course green packaging. According to the Aluminum Association, “the aluminum industry recovers approximately 54% of the aluminum containers produced in the U.S.” More significantly, the aluminum industry is targeting a 75% recycling rate by 2015 (see article text here).
This is really quite a significant target and a story that both consumers and packagers should really know. Most people would probably think that glass containers have better recycling rates than aluminum. In fact, according to the EPA, “only 22% of glass containers were recycled in 2003, as compared to 44% for aluminum cans.” The Container Recycling Institute reported that in 2006 aluminum recycling rates were at
45.2%, vs. 23.5% for PET plastic and 27.8% for glass.
Aluminum’s recyclability and sustainability are clear pluses for the environment, especially in this new environmentally-conscious US administration. We’re already seeing greater use of aluminum packaging in many new applications such as wine. So expect a lot more stories in this e-zine on aluminum as a green packaging material!