Aluminum Can Recycling

Aluminum is one of the most valuable recyclable items. Upwards of 75% of all aluminum that has ever been produced in the U.S. is still being used today for aerosol products, soda cans, paint cans, and many other various tools and products.

Aluminum cans are fully recyclable at Cohen. Bring them in today!

The History of the Aluminum can

You can thank the Anheuser-Busch and Pabst brewing companies for the ideation behind the aluminum drinking can. 

Due to the corrosive nature of beer, a can made of only aluminum simply wouldn’t work. 

The liquids would eat away at the metal interior and deliver a foul taste that brewers classified as “metal turbidity.”

They needed to add additional material to the can to prevent the harsh ingredients from dissolving the interior layer. 

A research team from Union Carbide concluded that their plastic product called “Vinylite” could prevent this corrosion while preserving the intended flavor. These breweries immediately adopted the use of vinylite. Today, this thin interior plastic lining is referred to as “Keglining.”

The final design for the punch top can with Keglining was sent to production in 1934. 

Where Did the Can We Use Today Come From?

The typical design for the aluminum can we use on a daily basis today was created in the late 1950’s. Coors Brewery produced the first pure aluminum, two-piece can and sent it into the market. 

Then the nationwide recycling initiative began, as Coors would pay a penny for each can that was brought back to them after use. 

The soda market grabbed ahold of this idea and entered the aluminum can container market in the mid-1960’s with their 12 oz Royal Crown Cola and Diet Rite flavors.

Aluminum in World War II:

Aluminum was vital to the American national defense effort during World War II and has remained so ever since. Civilians were urged by all media outlets to contribute their excess aluminum strips to scrap drives. In some cases, they were even granted free entry to social and sporting events.

How Does Recycling Aluminum Help Save The Environment?

The more aluminum that is recycled, the less material manufacturers need to produce. Since the production of aluminum generates many toxins and releases plenty of harmful chemicals into our atmosphere, recycling can significantly reduce the negative environmental impact.

Also, aluminum has unlimited life cycles, and because of this, the value is extraordinary compared to other scrap metals and materials.

In the recycling industry, this never-ending reuse pattern is referred to as a “true closed loop.”

Why Recycle Aluminum Can Tabs?

Regardless of whether you’re recycling the cans or the tabs, they are both equally recyclable as they are both made of aluminum.

Are Aluminum Cans Biodegradable?

No, aluminum is not biodegradable.

However, its components can disintegrate. 

For a material to be biodegradable, it must be able to be broken down or decomposed by microorganisms. Because of the fact that it takes so long for aluminum to degrade (hundreds of years), it cannot be technically classified as biodegradable.

How Many Cans Equal a Pound?

It’s difficult to measure this precisely, but this estimation might help you understand how many pounds of each you have at your home. 

Around 35 Aluminum Cans = 1 Pound

Around 1,550 Aluminum Tabs = 1 Pound

Are Aluminum Cans Getting Thinner?

Yes. You’ve probably noticed more cans bursting when you drop them.
There’s a reason for that.

As the microbrewery scene found its footing in the mid-1990’s, the glass bottle emerged as an aluminum can competitor. This created a need to cheapen the cost of production, which ultimately led to a thinner, lightweight can in order to compete with other kinds of beverage containers.

How Are Aluminum Cans Manufactured?

Cans are typically created from one enormous roll of aluminum sheeting that can weigh nearly ten tons. Depending on the size of the can, one roll of aluminum can produce anywhere from 600,000 – 1,000,000 cans.

Through the assembly line, the aluminum is pounded and cut into cylindrical tubes, convex cups, and lids. that are used as the base and lid.

The cans then enter the washing and drying cycle, where they’re coated and printed with their specific design.

Any can that doesn’t meet a manufacturer’s heavily-regulated standards will be packaged and sent to a recycling facility. 

All quality cans will then proceed to shipment to the beverage companies, who will typically handle the filling and capping of the final product.

Why is Aluminum Used so Frequently in the Food Industry?

Aluminum offers many quality benefits as far as the preservation of perishables is concerned.

With 100% protection against oxygen, light, and other contaminants, it’s the easy choice, as it passes every mandatory safety test.  Also, the modern, tamper-resistant aluminum can is resistant to corrosion. That means that these cans are capable of sitting on the grocery store shelves longer than other products with alternative packaging.

How Do I Collect & Save Aluminum Cans Properly?

Purchase an aluminum can crusher, place the cans in a plastic tote, and bring them to us for proper recycling. If you don’t want to crush them, we’ll take them in any form.

What Percentage of Aluminum cans are Recycled?

There’s a bit of a gray area with this one. While it’s possible to recycle 100% of all aluminum, many cans end up in the bottom of lakes, rivers, and oceans, and many other aluminum scraps get thrown in the trash.

In 2016, nearly 49.4% of aluminum cans were recycled. While this may seem like a large percentage, it has been on the decline in recent years. 

What’s the Value of Scrap Aluminum?

  • The consistent demand for aluminum dictates its high, fluctuating recycling value. Because of this fluctuation, there isn’t a standard amount that recycling entities give back to those who provide them with the cans.
  • The cost of using new material costs 90% more than reusing the aluminum you recycle.  

Next Steps

By recycling our aluminum cans, we’re taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint and promoting a healthier environment for us all. 

Let Cohen properly recycle your aluminum cans.