NEW YORK The U.S. recycling rate for aluminum used beverage containers (UBCs) increased to 65.1 percent in 2011, a 12-percent improvement from a 58.1-percent rate the previous year, even though manufactured can shipments were down 2.8 percent.
Some 60.9 billion UBCs were collected by the U.S. can industry for recycling last year, up from 55.9 billion in 2010, according to a joint report by the Aluminum Association, the Can Manufacturers Institute and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. The figure was boosted by a 25.5-percent increase in UBC imports, with 329.7 million cans arriving from overseas in 2011 vs. 262.8 million cans in 2010.
Overall, 1.76 billion pounds of UBCs were reclaimed and melted in the United States last year, up 8 percent from 1.63 billion pounds in 2010. However, cans produced and shipped by U.S. manufacturers fell 2.8 percent to 93.6 billion from 96.3 billion.
"We are excited to have made strong progress toward our goal to increase the aluminum can recycling rate to 75 percent, but we need the help of every American to continue to raise the rate," Aluminum Association president Heidi Brock said in a statement Tuesday.