Ball Corp. partners with Recycle Aerosol LLC to close the loop—one aerosol can at a time

Written on: May 17, 2022 by SprayTM

Ball is partnering with Recycle Aerosol LLC to increase the recycling rates of aluminum aerosol cans in the U.S. In line with the global transition to a truly circular economy, Ball said it is committed to building strategic partnerships that can help the industry move toward a world where materials can be used over and over again.

Predrag Ozmo, Sustainability Manager, Ball Corp., stated, “Beverage cans are really setting the benchmark for aluminum packaging recycling, and at Ball, we are working towards those same high standards for aerosol cans. There are several reasons why aerosol cans still have some ground to make up, including a lack of consumer education around proper disposal and recyclability of aerosol cans in general. We are committed to significantly improving recycling rates worldwide, working together with industry, our value chain partners and brand owners”.

Each year in the U.S., a small portion of filled aerosol cans are deemed unsaleable and are never used by consumers, for a variety of reasons. Gary Okey, Executive VP, Recycle Aerosol, explained, “Recycle Aerosol has four decades of experience recycling unsaleable filled aerosol containers that include damaged packaging, manufacturing rejects, out-of-date contents or changed marketing campaigns that may not otherwise be recycled. As our core business, Recycle Aerosol has developed and honed its engineered process to collect the fluids and gases from the unused aerosol and provide these valuable separated ingredients to new end users.”

Not only does this partnership increase the recycling of aerosol cans, it also creates a closed-loop process where used cans are recycled into new aerosol cans, Ball explained, noting it is very energy- and carbon-efficient to produce aluminum products from recycled aluminum. The alloys used to produce aluminum aerosols are of high purity, so when sourced specifically from recycled aluminum aerosol containers, there are efficiency gains that also reduce the need for virgin aluminum, the company said.

“Aluminum is a prime example of true material circularity; 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today and it can be recycled infinitely, without loss of quality,” added Ozmo. Once the used aerosol cans have been emptied, they are re-melted; the re-melted secondary ingots (RSI) are then shipped to Ball, where they will be used to make new, infinitely recyclable aerosol cans.

“It is also one of the most valuable materials on the market, so no additional incentives are needed to recycle it. A great deal of aluminum is “trapped” in long-lasting products such as airplanes, buildings and window frames, and as a result, only about one third of global demand for aluminum can be satisfied from recycled sources. That is why keeping valuable materials in the material loop and having them recycled over and over again is one of the foundations of the circular and low-carbon economy and why we at Ball are determined to improve collection and recycling of aluminum aerosol cans worldwide,” Ozmo concluded.