Environmental Protection

Rexam Wins Top Three Spots in Intra-industry Recycling Contest

Industry-wide effort recycled about 140 million aluminum cans and raised $150,000 for charity.

The aluminum beverage can industry collected and recycled approximately 140 million cans and raised more than $150,000 for charities across the country through a competition among can companies and aluminum suppliers, the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) announced recently.

The Rexam beverage can manufacturing plant in Chatsworth, Calif., won first-place in the competition, with more than 55 million cans collected and recycled. Second- and third-places went to Rexam’s Fairfield, Calif., and St. Paul, Minn., plants, which collected approximately 31 million and 21 million cans, respectively.

“We’re proud to team with our industry and local communities to support recycling,” said Andre Balbi, president and CEO, Rexam Beverage Can Americas. “Our manufacturing plants are setting a positive example in our communities, showing how the aluminum beverage can is the best choice for environmental-friendliness and sustainability.”

The contest, the America Recycles Day Challenge, took place over 76 days and involved 55 facilities, including plants and corporate offices of aluminum companies: Alcoa Inc., Arco Aluminum, and Novelis and can manufacturers: Ball Corporation, Metal Container Corporation, and Rexam. The individual facilities partnered with schools and local organizations to collect and recycle used beverage cans. Proceeds from the effort will benefit Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Toys for Tots and other charities throughout the United States.

“This was a great team effort and every participating company, facility and employee should be proud of the difference we have made in our local communities and for our environment,” said Robert Budway, president of CMI. “Through this effort we diverted more than four million pounds of cans out of the waste stream and back into new products, and in so doing we raised a lot of money for a lot of worthy causes.”

With a recycling rate of 57.4 percent, aluminum cans are the most recycled of all beverage containers. Aluminum cans are “infinitely recyclable” and can be recycled into new cans and put back on store shelves in as few as 60 days. And can recycling benefits the environment in ways that extend beyond just minimizing landfill waste. For example, producing a can with recycled content requires 95 percent less energy than making that same can out of raw material. This, in turn, conserves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and saves money.

The annual America Recycles Day Challenge was launched in 2003 with a goal of raising recycling awareness and giving back to local communities. Since the program’s inception, more than 290 million cans have been recycled.

CMI is the national trade association of the metal can manufacturing industry and its suppliers in the United States. Members account for the annual domestic production of 130 billion food, beverage and general line metal cans. Together, they employ approximately 32,000 workers and operate nearly 150 plants in 36 states.

In February, the Aluminum Association celebrated Charles Martin Hall's discovery of the method to produce aluminum commercially, which occurred 125 years ago. Association President Steve Larkin said: “Almost three-quarters of all aluminum ever manufactured is still in use. Think about that for a minute. If that’s not the very definition of sustainability, then I don’t know what is.”

Source: Can Manufacturers Institute

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