Canva - Compressed aluminum can for recycle

If there’s one material you absolutely should recycle, it’s aluminum cans.

Because they’re 100 percent recyclable (and sustainable), they’re universally accepted. That means recycling programs everywhere will happily take them back. Yours included.

Aluminum cans are recycled more than any other consumer product on the planet and it’s easy to see why. They can be recycled infinitely without degrading, unlike plastic which loses quality every time it’s recovered. About 75 percent of all the aluminum produced to date is still in use, which is why it’s among the most sustainable materials out there.

And if that wasn’t convincing enough, here’s another fact to ponder: manufacturing aluminum products out of recycled material saves 90 percent of the energy it would take to produce them from virgin materials. Make sure to get those cans recycled. All of them.

Developing a can-do attitude

Aluminum is one of the few materials that pays for its recycling and then some.

This is all to say that aluminum is a lucrative material. For the many communities that operate their recycling programs at a loss, it represents an opportunity to make gains and recoup losses. That’s why, when it comes to recycling, definitely develop a can-do attitude. It could save your program.

When you don’t keep aluminum cans in the loop, they end up in the landfill taking up precious space. And it takes around 200 years for them to biodegrade, which means they’ll be there for a very long time. Over the past 20 or so years, its estimated that people have trashed more than 11 million tons of aluminum cans. That’s about $12 billion dollars wasted.

To crush, or not to crush?

This is a tricky one—and the answer will be different
depending on where you live.

Some communities encourage residents to crush their cans to optimize space in collection vehicles. Others don’t, because their sorting equipment can’t actually sort crushed cans.