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What happens to my aluminum can?

Aluminum cans are the most valuable beverage containers to recycle. Each year, the aluminum industry pays out over $800 million for empty aluminum cans. Aluminum cans are also the most recycled consumer product in the U.S. today. That is in part due to the fact that cans are100 percent recyclable and can be recycled indefinitely. In fact, it is cheaper, faster and more energy-efficient to recycle aluminum than ever before.


In Iowa, consumers pay a 5 cent deposit on every aluminum can they purchase. Consumers can return used containers to a redemption center to recover their money. Consumers who opt not to recover their deposit, have the ability to curbside recycle their beverage containers to the benefit of their communities.


Curious about where that 5 cent deposit goes? Follow the nickel.

Don't want to deal with redemption/return? Don't toss that can-just bin it in your curbside container.

Aluminum has a high market value and continues to provide an economic incentive to recycle. Thirty percent of all aluminum used in the United States is derived from recycled materials.

Recycled Aluminum Facts:

Most of the news is good. However, expanded education about the option of curbside recycling of aluminum cans could increase recycling percentages even further.

  • Over 50% of the aluminum cans produced are recycled.
  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That's closed loop recycling at its finest!
  • Aluminum is a durable and sustainable metal: 2/3 of the aluminum ever produced is in use today.
  • Aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth.
  • Every minute of everyday, an average of 113,204 aluminum cans are recycled.
  • Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy and 20 recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.
  • Last year 54 billion cans were recycled saving energy equivalent to 15 million barrels of crude oil - America's entire gas consumption for one day.
  • Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can's volume of gasoline.
  • In 1972, 24,000 metric tons of aluminum used beverage containers (UBCs) were recycled. In 1998, the amount increased to over 879,000 metric tons.
  • In 1972, it took about 22 empty, aluminum cans to weigh one pound. Due to advanced technology to use less material and increase durability of aluminum cans, in 2002 it takes about 34 empty aluminum cans to weigh one pound.
  • The average employee consumes 2.5 beverages a day while at work.
  • The empty aluminum can is worth about 1 cent.

Source: The Aluminum Association

Aluminum Recycling Information Resources:

More on aluminum recycling can be found at: The Aluminum Association