AMP and Crown form alliance to fund aluminium can capture grant for two American MRFs

AL Circle

The world-renowned aluminium beverage can makers Crown Holdings (Crown) and Ardagh Metal Packaging (AMP) have joined hands to fund a new grant for can-capture equipment at two assorted material recovery facilities (MRF) in San Jose and Elkhart. It is estimated that this latest installation will be fundamental in capturing almost 20 million used aluminium cans per year.

AMP and Crown form alliance to fund aluminium can capture grant for two American MRFs

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MRFs are recycling hubs where end-of-life trash items are brought for sorting and recycling purposes, and it has been forecasted that the cans captured would amount to US$325,000 in value. The recycling stream will save energy required to power over nine hundred U.S. abodes each year.

AMP and Crown have generously funded six grants, including two new ones, as part of their collaborative program with The Recycling Partnership. The equipment grants provided by Ardagh and Crown have played a pivotal role in facilitating the installation of equipment that can capture over 115.5 million aluminium beverage cans annually. The total value of these cans is over $1.8 million, which, when recycled, can result in energy savings equivalent to powering more than 5,000 U.S. residents for a year.

The CEO of AMP-North America, Jens Irion, remarked: "Ardagh Metal Packaging is proud to jointly fund with Crown these grants that continue to demonstrate there is a significant opportunity for MRFs to capture millions of aluminium beverage cans each year."

"That is why capturing missorted cans at MRFs is one of the pillars of action to make progress toward the ambitious U.S. aluminium beverage can recycling rate targets that AMP, Crown, and all CMI beverage can manufacturer and can sheet producer members have committed to achieve," Irion added.

The two MRFs chosen for the grant have been listed below with their individual capacities:

GreenWaste, located in San Jose, CA: Encompasses 300,000 households in the San Jose area. The grant received by GreenWaste will be used to purchase a second eddy current separator. The purpose of this equipment is to capture undersized aluminium and previously lost items from the MRF's screening process. GreenWaste hopes to capture an additional 260 tonnes of aluminium (equivalent to 17.6 million aluminium beverage cans) annually with the help of this equipment.

RecyclingWorks in Elkhart, IN: Oversees more than 200,000 households. The grant received by RecyclingWorks will be used to install a robotic sorter on the residue conveyor. This sorter will occupy a small area and will reduce the amount of aluminium going to landfills by 45 tonnes (equivalent to 3 million aluminium beverage cans).

The vice president of global sustainability and regulatory affairs at Crown, John Rost, analysed: "A consumer putting an aluminium beverage can in the recycling bin, getting hauled to an MRF, and then being missorted and not recycled is unacceptable. We need more of our aluminium back to provide a consistent, domestic supply of material that people in good manufacturing jobs at our facilities ultimately turn into new aluminium beverage cans. We already recycle aluminium beverage cans at scale today, with 90,000 of them recycled every minute in the United States, and 93 per cent of those cans recycled into new cans; programs like this grant program help more cans go through the existing domestic circular economy to become new cans."

The Recycling Partnership also talked about additional can-capture grants that have been awarded for beverage can recycling drives. CMI will very soon chart out a discography of the recycling units under AMP and Crown eligible to get can capture grants.

The director of materials advancement, The Recycling Partnership, Adam Gendell, notified: "These improvements to our recycling systems will provide meaningful gains in aluminium circularity. We see tremendous opportunities to continue upgrading our recycling infrastructure, and we're grateful to partner with the Can Manufacturers Institute to pursue our shared mission of reducing waste and increasing circularity."

The Recycling Partnership has established a grant program in collaboration with the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) to support the installation of equipment in MRFs. The goal is to capture aluminium beverage cans, which can account for up to one in four cans at a typical MRF. CMI's research from 2020 revealed that without revenue from UBCs, MRFs would need to change their business models to remain viable.

In addition to grants and research findings, CMI conducted testing in 2022 to demonstrate the number of cans being missorted and the ROI of capturing them. MRFs can now use a free ROI calculator supplied by CMI. Recently, CMI announced that it has fully financed a two-year lease of a robot from EverestLabs with funding from AMP and Crown, which will capture over one million aluminium beverage cans annually at a California MRF.

The world of aluminium beverage cans and other packaging solutions is extremely vast and their recycling sector requires equal maintenance. To learn more about the use of Aluminium Foils and how they help in creating end-use products like beverage cans, have a look at AL Circle's specially edited report. 

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