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
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 Inc.
"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.