May 2021

The race is on for recycled aluminum aerosol containers

Over the last decade, the global aluminum aerosol can industry has seen an average growth rate of about 3.5%, according to the International Organization of Aluminum Aerosol Container Manufacturers (AEROBAL). In other voluminous end-use markets, such as the automotive and building industries, aluminum has also been in increasingly high demand.

For several years, the demand for aluminum products with recycled metal content has

Aluminum aerosol cans

continually increased, said AEROBAL. This has lead to a situation wherein high demand meets limited availability of recycled material because, with the rowth of the entire aluminum market, the metal is often bound in the products for decades (e. g. in cars and buildings) before it is available for recycling. AEROBAL estimates that today only about 30% of global demand for aluminum can be satisfied by recycled material.

Be it pre- or post-consumer scrap, recycled aluminum is in short supply in all end-use markets—not to mention high-purity scrap that can measure up to the demanding requirements of aluminum aerosol can production.

“Nevertheless, the aluminum aerosol can industry has faced the music and taken up this challenge,” underscored AEROBAL President Leopold Werdich.

Werdich

“Thanks to the innovative drive and constructive cooperation of the supply chain partners, new alloys not only achieve significantly lighter cans, but they can also contain a defined quantity of recycled aluminum that improves the environmental performance of the finished container without impairing its functionality and safety.”

AEROBAL Secretary General Gregor Spengler added, “Transparent documentation of the (recycled) material flow in the value chain is crucial, as it clearly demonstrates what kind of recycled material found its way into the can. Any Greenwashing would do harm to the aluminum aerosol can industry and its customers and put the excellent reputation of aluminum at risk.”

Spengler

What really matters in the end, explained AEROBAL, is the closing of the material loop sothat no aluminum gets lost on the way, regardless of how or where it was used. In this context, it is helpful that aluminum is a packaging material with a high scrap value offering a convincing incentive to properly collect and recycle it. In addition, increasingly sophisticated collection and sorting technologies in the packaging waste management systems throughout the world also contribute to increase the quantity and quality of recycled materials.

Efficiently closing the material loop leads to the utmost resource efficiency and sustainability for the benefit and well-being of future generations, concluded AEROBAL.