New LCA for beverage cans

Within ten years, carbon emissions from aluminium beverage cans have been reduced by almost a third. This is the result of a study by Forum Getränkedosen, which includes leading can manufacturers.

After Forum Getränkedose, the German division of Metal Packaging Europe, published the beverage can sales figures for the German market, the European association in Brussels is now presenting a new life cycle assessment for the aluminium beverage can. The study covers the entire life cycle of aluminium beverage cans produced in Europe from raw material extraction through production to end-of-life. The result: the carbon dioxide footprint was reduced on average by 31 per cent in the period 2006-2016.

The main factors that have made this progress possible include the reduction in can weight and an increase in the recycling rate of aluminium beverage cans. The recyclability of aluminium remains the key factor for further improvements: a five per cent increase in the recycling rate results in a reduction of six per cent in the impact of climate change.

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Aluminium beverage cans are made from a single material, which makes them particularly easy to collect, sort and recycle. In 2015, the recycling rate for aluminium beverage cans rose to 74 per cent due to efficient collection and sorting systems and the active participation of European consumers. Aluminium is a permanent material that can be recycled again and again without losing its material properties.

“It is part of Metal Packaging Europe’s mission to provide fact-based and unambiguous information about our industry. We welcome the significant progress our member companies have made and are confident that even greater reductions can be achieved through improved recycling rates across Europe,” says Leonie Knox-Peebles, CEO of Metal Packaging Europe.

The companies providing data for the study were Ardagh Group, CROWN Packaging Europe and Ball Beverage Packaging Europe. European Aluminium provided the latest data sets for sheet aluminium production. The participating companies cover up to 87 per cent of the relevant European markets.