Alcoa of Pittsburgh, PA set a goal to raise the beverage can recycling rate in North America from its current 52 percent to 75 percent by 2015. The U.S. produces more than 1.5 million metric tons of aluminum cans per year. The recycling rate for cans has fallen steadily from its high of 68 percent in 1992. By comparison, Brazil and Japan both recycle more than 90 percent of its cans.
Moving from 52 percent to 75 percent would have a big impact on clean air. Moving to 75 percent recycling would mean a savings of 600,000 metric tons of aluminum. That’s equal to a savings of 1,286 MW of electricity, the equivalent of two averaged-sized coal-fired power plants running 24/7. Alcoa is working with a number of recycling organizations to raise recycling rates. The company has also expanded its recycling capacity in anticipation of high recycling rates.