Aluminium Can Recycling
The average UK resident uses about 84 aluminium cans a year. That is equivalent to 1.3kg of aluminium which can be easily and profitably recycled. Recycling aluminium drink cans saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make aluminium from its raw materials. Worldwide over 50% of aluminium cans are recycled. Aluminium has been used for beverage cans since as early as 1960, first for frozen juice concentrate. But, as early as 1961 Reynolds Metals Co., now part of Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Inc., established its Reynolds Can division and soon made inroads into the marketplace with its easy-open aluminium can lids. This speeded the development and commercial use of aluminium cans for the beer and soft drink markets. In 1967 the aluminium ringpull top was introduced to the UK market. In 1966, the year before the introduction of ringpulls UK sales of canned beer were 242 million units. By 1970, at which time all breweries were using the ringpull, sales had more than doubled, to 490 million cans. In the 1990s growth of demand for aluminium cans began to slow with the market maturing. Can makers have improved technologies to lightweight cans by using lighter gauge sheet stock in order to make them more competitive with other beverage containers. A recent drop in the price paid for used beverage containers (UBC) has added to concerns among both waste management companies and councils in the UK over the value of the cans they collect.