The study shows that compared with aluminium cans, more glass and plastic bottles end up in landfills because they are not collected. In addition, the losses in the recycling system once collected, is three times higher for PET and glass bottles than for the aluminium cans.
On behalf of the IAI, Eunomia Research and Consulting studied data in five regions: Brazil, China, Europe, Japan and the US. It looked at the end-of-life processing losses for aluminium cans, glass bottles and plastic (polyethylene terephthalate – PET) bottles. The study also looked at the collection, sorting, reprocessing and thermal processing, closed-loop recycling and open-loop recycling.
The aluminium can was first mass-produced by Coors Brewing Company in the 1950s to improve the taste of beer and provide a more sustainable container than steel cans. It is therefore reassuring to see from this study that the environmental goals of that ground-breaking new product all those years ago are still being realised.