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Aerobal, an international working group of the German Aluminium Association, claims that over the last decade the global aluminium aerosol can industry has achieved an average growth rate of about 3.5 per cent due to their “convincing functional, consumer-oriented and environmental performance”.

The company also says that in other voluminous end-use markets, such as the automotive and building industry, aluminium has been in increasingly high demand.

Because of this, the demand for aluminium products with recycled metal content has continually increased. This has led to a situation where high demand meets limited availability of recycled materials.

Unfortunately, while the entire aluminium market is growing, metal is often bound in the products for decades (in cars and buildings for example) before it is available for recycling.

Due to this, Aerobal says only about 30 per cent of the global demand for aluminium can be satisfied by recycled material – be it pre- or post-consumer scrap, recycled aluminium is in short supply in all end-use markets.

“Nevertheless, the aluminium aerosol can industry has faced the music and taken up this challenge,” says Leopold Werdich, president at Aerobal.

“Today, thanks to the innovative drive and constructive cooperation of the supply chain partners, new alloys do not only allow to achieve significantly lighter cans, but they can also contain a defined quantity of recycled aluminium, which improves the environmental performance of the finished can without impairing the functionality and safety of the can.”

The company says this is what positively differentiates aluminium from many other packaging materials. Aerobal points to the fact that aluminium – be it primary or recycled – can be almost endlessly recycled without any loss in quality, due to its inherent material properties.

“A very crucial thing in this context is a transparent documentation of the recycled material flows in the value chain, which clearly demonstrates what kind of recycled material found its way into the can,” explains Gregor Spengler, secretary general at Aerobal.

“Any greenwashing would do harm to the aluminium aerosol can industry and their customers, and puts the excellent reputation of aluminium at risk.”

Aerobal says increasingly sophisticated collection and sorting technologies in the packaging waste management systems throughout the world will contribute to increase the quantity and quality of the recycled materials.

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