Steel and aluminum scrap dealers who
provide materials destined to become metal food and beverage
containers see positive energy flowing through the market as
recycling rates are again marking gains, and can scrap
consumers say quality is improving as well.
The steel can, celebrating its 200th
anniversary, touts the highest recycling rate of any food
packaging at more than 65 percent.
Meanwhile, the U.S. aluminum used beverage
can (UBC) recycling rate rose to 57.4 percent in 2009 from 54.2
percent the previous year but was still well below the
industry's goal of 75 percent, according to the Aluminum
Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute and the Institute
of Scrap Recycling Industries. The 3.2-point year-on-year
increase marked the largest annual gain in the past 10 years,
according to the three trade groups. Some 55.5 billion aluminum
cans weighing about 1.61 billion pounds were collected in the
United States in 2009, up from 53.2 billion cans weighing
around 1.56 billion pounds in 2008.
"While we are pleased with the increase, we
need all Americans to step up their recycling efforts to assure
the availability of the can and to reach the industry's own
goal of a 75-percent (recycling) rate," Steve Larkin, president
of the Arlington, Va.-based Aluminum Association, said.
Beyond improved recycling rates, efficiencies
and efforts, North American aluminum scrap suppliers greatly
improved quality in 2010, according to major scrap buyer Alcoa
"The general importance of quality in the
chain is increasing and we're very appreciative of that. We
have fewer quality issues than we did last year, and when we do
have one suppliers have been very responsive. All our vendors
realize the value of finding better-quality material," said
Leslie Shuman, director of strategy and supply chain at the
Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer's Alcoa North American
Rolled Products division.