For a long time, plastic recycling was much more popular than aluminum. Plastic is much more common in our every day products then aluminum. Recently though, companies and consumers are realizing that plastic is difficult to recycle and is very harmful to the environment. Aluminum on the other hand, is very easy to recycle. We are seeing a shift toward aluminum in the United States.
Aluminum cans have a higher rate of recycling than plastic bottles, at 45%, but the rate has been declining since 1992 when a rate of 65% was achieved. According to the Container Recycling Institute, Americans throw away millions of dollars worth of aluminum cans every year, and more than 1 trillion cans total since 1972. Some of the reasons that aluminum can recycling has decreased may be due to lack of financial incentive, their light weight, or the fact that more people consume beverages away from home. Meanwhile, as of 2006 recycling plastic bottles was at 23.5%, down from a high of 37.3% in 1995.
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