The U.S. recycling rate for aluminum beverage containers leaped from 58.1% in 2010 to 65.1% last year, according to numbers released today by the Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).
The jump in seven percentage points means nearly 61 billion cans were recycled last year compared to nearly 56 billion in 2010. The higher recycling rate also stakes the aluminum can's holder as the most recycled beverage container -- more than double that of any other beverage container, according to a news release.
The new numbers bode well for an industry that has a goal of a 75% recycle rate.
"We are excited to have made strong progress toward our goal to increase the aluminum can recycling rate to 75%," Heidi Brock, president of the Aluminum Association, said in a statement, "but we need the help of every American to continue to raise the rate. There is much more work still to be done here in the United States to reach our goal by 2015."
With an industry average of 68%, the aluminum industry also uses the greatest amount of total recycled content.
Reusing aluminum cans, which can be recycled over and over, takes 95% less energy to produce a can from recycled material than virgin material.
The amount of energy saved from recycling cans last year is equal to the energy equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of crude oil or the same amount it takes to produce 29 million plastic water bottles consumed each year, according to the release.