Scrap Facts

  • Scrap has been an important export commodity from the United States for over 120 years.
  • $15.7 Billion worth of scrap commodities were exported in 2007.
  • Scrap Recycling was an $86 billion dollar industry in the US in 2008.
  • Scrap metal was the 2nd largest export to China in dollar value in 2007.
  • 75% of all “trash” can be recycled.


Aluminum Recycling Facts

  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
  • Other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
  • An aluminum can that is thrown away will still be a can 500 years from now.
  • Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but currently only every second can is recycled.
  • There is no limit to the number of times aluminum cans may be recycled.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours — or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
  • We use over 80 billion aluminum soda cans every year.
  • Recycling 1KG (2.20lbs) of Aluminum saves up to 6KG (13.2lbs) of bauxite, 4KG (8.8lbs) of chemical products, and most importantly 14 kWh of electricity.
  • If all the aluminum cans in the United States were recycled there would be 14 million fewer dustbins annually.
  • Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch. That means you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount it takes to make one can out of new material. Energy savings in 2007 were enough to light a city the size of Detroit for 8 years.
  • Americans throw away (dispose, not recycle) enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • During Christmas time there are over 300 million cans used per week.
  • Americans use 100 million cans per day.
  • When you toss out aluminum cans you waste as much energy as if you We’re cheap filled the same can half full with gasoline, and just threw it on the ground.
  • The 36 billion Aluminum cans land filled last year had a scrap value of 600 million dollars. Makes you wonder if in the future we’ll be mining our old landfills for the aluminum we’ve already thrown away.
  • 97% of all beverage cans are aluminum.
  • North America is currently recycling 2/3 of aluminum cans, nowhere close to the amount we should be recycling.
  • Making cans from recycled aluminum cuts air related pollution by 95%.
  • In 2003, 54 billion cans were recycled, saving the energy equivalent of 15 million barrels of crude oil – America’s entire gas consumption for one day.
  • 350,000 aluminum cans are produced every minute!
  • During the time it takes you to read this sentence, 50,000 12-ounce aluminum cans are made!
  • Aluminum can manufacturers have been making cans lighter — in 1972 each pound of aluminum produced 22 cans; today it yields 29 cans!
  • At one time, aluminum was more valuable than gold!
  • It is estimated that since 1972 some 16 million tons of aluminum cans have been recycled. These 785.6 billion aluminum cans placed end-to-end could stretch to the moon more than 249 times!
  • In 1972, 53 million pounds of aluminum cans were recycled. Today, we exceed that amount weekly. Some 119,482 cans are recycled every minute nationwide!
  • Aluminum cans have tremendous value. In 1996, Americans earned $1.08 billion by recycling aluminum cans. Since 1972, Americans have earned almost $8.9 billion by recycling aluminum cans!
  • The weight of aluminum cans recycled in 1996 was equal to the weight of 14 aircraft carriers — 983,709 tons!
  • In 1972, it took about 22 empty, aluminum cans to weigh one pound. Due to advanced technology to use less material and increase durability of aluminum cans, in 2002 it takes about 34 empty aluminum cans to weigh one pound.


Hope you enjoyed this week’s Scrap Facts,

Southern Metals Recycling – Wilmington, NC