Aluminum cans
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CMI, The Recycling Partnership offer aluminum beverage can capture grants

The grants, sponsored by Ardagh Group and Crown Holdings, will fund equipment to help capture UBCs at MRFs.

January 27, 2021

The Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), Washington, and The Recycling Partnership, Falls Church, Virginia, have announced requests for proposals (RFPs) for aluminum beverage can capture grants. The grants, sponsored by can manufacturers Ardagh Group and Crown Holdings, will fund eddy currents, robots and other equipment or process improvements to capture used beverage cans (UBCs) at material recovery facilities (MRFs). 

According to a news release from CMI, The Recycling Partnership is a strategic partner that will fulfill several roles in the grant program, including evaluating and assessing the proposals submitted and executing the grant program overall.

CMI says the program will begin as a pilot effort in the Southeast U.S., enabling grant partners to evaluate the effectiveness of the grants and apply learnings. The grant program will focus on the Southeast because of its “strong potential” to increase the recycling rate for UBCs.

CMI says the grants will be offered in two rounds of applications, with the first round closing Feb. 19 and the second round closing March 31. After the proposals are submitted, The Recycling Partnership will evaluate them based on criteria such as the anticipated number of additional UBCs captured, the potential for replicability in future projects, the ability of the applicant to successfully implement the project and measure its success and the applicant’s ability to leverage additional financial resources to support the project. 

CMI, along with funding partners Ardagh and Crown, will provide feedback during the grantee selection process. The first grantee is expected to be announced by March 31, and the remaining grants will be awarded by June 30. Grantees are expected to provide initial impact results by the end of 2021.

According to CMI, the MRFs that receive grants will be able to capture and sell UBCs that are currently being lost or uncaptured. While UBCs are consistently one of the most valuable materials by weight in the recycling stream, a recent CMI study indicated up to 1 in 4 beverage cans is missorted at a typical MRF. Capturing these cans will provide critical revenue to MRFs, many of which struggle with sortation costs higher than revenue earned from selling recyclables, CMI says. It also means additional aluminum will be recycled into new cans or other useful, recyclable products. 

The grant program also will foster additional examples of MRFs that have successfully invested in can capture equipment, providing case studies to spur more MRFs to invest in aluminum can capture.

“CMI’s research made clear the need to capture missorted aluminum beverage cans at the MRF for additional, critical revenue to the U.S. recycling system,” says Robert Budway, CMI president. “These grants will result in missorted cans being captured and recycled, delivering significant environmental and economic benefits. CMI members Ardagh and Crown’s financial contribution to this effort align with their desire to increase aluminum beverage can recycling rates and their respective environmental, social and corporate governance efforts. We are pleased to now have The Recycling Partnership, a highly respected recycling and industry leader, join this on-the-ground can capture effort as a strategic partner.”

“CMI was one of the founding organizations of what became The Recycling Partnership and has been a consistent funding partner on behalf of its metal can manufacturer and supplier membership,” says Keefe Harrison, The Recycling Partnership CEO. “We are excited to collaborate closely with them and their members to capture lost beverage cans at MRFs. With the partnership’s extensive expertise in grant programs and systemic approach to improving recycling, we will ensure success of this program with a result of more aluminum cans recycled and a healthier U.S. recycling system.”

MRFs interested in applying for a grant can click here to learn more.