Coca-cola says its long term target is to recyle or reuse 100% of the aluminum beverage cans it sells in the US. How long it will take for that goal to reach remains uncertain.
The same objective is also planned for the company’s PET (polyethylene) plastic bottles. By the end of the year, Coca-Cola estimates that it will recycle more than 100 million pounds each of PET and aluminum.
“The primary beverage container materials – aluminum and PET – have high value as recyclables but not enough are recovered to meet the increasing demand,” said John Burgess, president and chief operating officer, Coca-Cola Recycling.
With that thought, 100% recycling and reusing their containers will most probably save Coke millions along the way.
Aluminum producer Alcoa seems to think so too. The company announced last month its $22m plans to expand its recycling capacity in Tennessee by 50%. Alcoa is also calling out for aluminum players to help raise the industry’s used beverage can (UBC) recycling rate from the current 52% to 75% by 2015.
75% UBCs recycled in North America = 600,000 tons raw aluminum saved = 1,286 megawatts electricity saved = not needing 2 average-sized coal power plants running 24/7 max = 11.8m tonnes/year CO2 emissions reduced.
The aluminum industry is already struggling to reach regulatory greenhouse gas reduction goals, according to this Reuters report. Recycling is a good way to save money for aluminum producers not only in material costs but in meeting regulatory requirements.