Historic City Starts Another Revolution by Banning Plastic Water Bottles
Following a landmark decision by the city of Concord, MA to ban the sale of single-serving plastic bottles for drinking water, the Aluminum Association is calling on residents to use infinitely recyclable, sustainable aluminum to get their bottled water fix. Aluminum is by far the most recycled -- and recyclable -- beverage container in the United States, reaching a 65.1 percent recycling rate in 2011. This compares to a 23 percent recycling rate for plastic bottles, which leads to nearly 40 billion plastic bottles ending up in landfills each year. Glass bottles, meanwhile, are not typically recycled and are often crushed and used to pack down landfills.
“There’s no doubt about it, aluminum is the green choice for beverage consumption,” said Heidi Brock, President of the Aluminum Association. “Whether in single-service cans, or increasingly popular reusable bottles, the infinite recyclability of aluminum makes it extremely attractive to environmentally-conscious consumers.”
On January 1st, a rule went into effect in Concord banning the sale of single-service (one-liter or less) plastic water bottles from stores, restaurants and vending machines. Violators of the ban are subject to a fine of up to $50. Concord is believed to be the first city in the country to approve such a ban. A similar policy also went into effect on the same day at the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT. Proponents of the bottle bans claim that it takes 17 million barrels of oil to make all of the plastic bottles used in the U.S. each year – enough to fuel 1.3 million cars.
“Consumers want to feel good about their choices and using aluminum cans or bottles is a great alternative to plastic,” added Brock. “Sustainability is a top priority for the aluminum industry and we’re proud of our track record providing the greenest option in beverage packaging.”
For nearly 30 years, the aluminum can has been the most popular beverage container in the United States -- and also the most recycled. The average recycled content of a typical aluminum can is 68 percent – far exceeding any other beverage container on the market. In fact, an aluminum can becomes a new can in less than 60 days when it is recycled – something that can take place an infinite number of times.
Lightweight and easily stacked, aluminum cans also boast space and shipping efficiencies relative to competing containers. Beverages packaged in aluminum also chill quickly and boast superior protective properties versus other materials. Reusable aluminum bottles are also growing in popularity – one leading producer saw sales triple between 2004 and 2008.
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The Aluminum Association, based in Arlington, Virginia, works globally to aggressively promote aluminum as the most sustainable and recyclable automotive, packaging and construction material in today's market. The Association represents U.S. and foreign-based primary producers of aluminum, aluminum recyclers and producers of fabricated products, as well as industry suppliers. Member companies operate more than 200 plants in the United States, with many conducting business worldwide.