Two large aluminum beverage can manufacturers will provide grants to MRFs to improve the sortation process for used beverage cans.
Working in partnership with The Recycling Partnership and the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), Ardagh Metal Packaging and Crown Holdings have offered to fund a round of grants to allow MRFs to invest in eddy-current separators, robotic sorters and other equipment, and process improvements focused on cans.
Ardagh and Crown funded five similar grants in 2021 that have contributed to the capture of nearly 140 million aluminum beverage cans per year, a press release noted – far more than the 71 million aluminum beverage cans per year that was projected. The five grants went to two facilities in Texas, one in Wisconsin, one in Florida and one in North Carolina.
Scott Breen, CMI’s vice president of sustainability, said in the press release that the 140 million aluminum beverage cans captured due to the grant-funded improvements generate more than $2 million annually for the recycling system.
Broken down, GEL Recycling in Orange City, Fla., installed equipment to detect and capture cans missorted into the plastic container stream, capturing a projected 204,000 new pounds per year. Independent Texas Recyclers in Houston, Texas, installed equipment to capture cans that were not detected by the main aluminum sorting equipment, netting about 2.5 million new pounds of aluminum capture per year and Rivers Recycling in Kilgore, Texas, installed an eddy current, upgrading from hand sortation and gaining a projected 106,000 new pounds per year.
Curbside Management in Asheville, N.C. also invested in an eddy current separator, which will eventually allow the facility to capture 1.3 million pounds of recycled aluminum per year, as did a MRF in Milwaukee, Wis., which is expected to capture 27 million aluminum beverage cans per year.
CMI-funded research found that up to one in four aluminum beverage cans is missorted at a typical MRF, the press release noted, and a 2022 study funded by Ardagh and Crown found that between seven and 36 aluminum beverage cans are missorted every minute.
Several grants will be awarded on a rolling basis to MRFs, the press release stated, with the aim of reducing this missorting.
Jennifer Cumbee, Ardagh’s chief sustainability officer of global metal, said the investments “reflect our industry commitment to increase beverage can recycle rates.”
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