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[GreenYes] Aluminum Can Recycling Rate drops Below 50%

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE	CONTACT:	Pat Franklin, 703/276-9800
April 29, 2002	Executive Director

Aluminum Can Recycling Rate Drops Below 50 Percent


WASHINGTON, DC (April 29, 2002) - Last year more aluminum cans were
littered, landfilled or incinerated than were recycled, according to the
Container Recycling Institute (CRI), a research group that studies container
recycling issues and tracks container recycling rates. CRI data also shows
that the rate has been in a state of decline for ten years, after peaking at
65 percent in 1992.

Using industry data, U.S. Department of Commerce trade data, and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) formula for determining recycling
rates, CRI found that the recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans dropped
below 50 percent in 2001 for the first time in 16 years.

“The 50.7 billion aluminum cans wasted last year squandered enormous energy
resources. The energy value of those trashed cans was equivalent to 16
million barrels of crude oil, or enough energy to supply 2.7 million
American homes with electricity for a year,” said Pat Franklin, executive
director of the Container Recycling Institute.

On April 26th the Aluminum Association reported an aluminum can recycling
rate of 55.4 percent for 2001, a rate CRI says is not accurate. “First they
inflate the recycling rate with 6.4 billion imported scrap cans.  Then,
despite a drop of nearly 7 percentage points in one year, based on their
calculations, they fail to acknowledge the drop in the rate and the 12
percent drop in the tons of cans recycled.  Finally, they offer no
explanation for the decline, or how we might reverse the wasting trend.”

In 1997 the industry, led by ALCAN, announced an aluminum can recycling goal
of 75 percent by 2001.  “Whether one accepts the inaccurate figure from the
aluminum industry (55.4 percent) or the Container Recycling Institute's
figure which uses EPA's methodology and reflects the true recycling rate
(49.2 percent), the fact is we are much further from that goal of 75 percent
today than we were in 1997 when the recycling rate was at 59.8 percent.

“The only recycling programs recovering aluminum cans at rates above 75
percent are container deposit programs,” said Franklin.  “Putting a 5 or 10
cent deposit on cans and bottles provides a monetary incentive to recycle
and an incentive not to litter.  If the aluminum industry got behind a
nationwide deposit system, we could reverse the wasting trend and bring the
recycling rate for aluminum cans and all beverage containers beyond 75

											# # #

Patricia Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1911 N. Fort Myer Drive, Ste. 702
Arlington, VA 22209

TEL:   703.276.9800
FAX:   703.276.9587

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