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Ardagh Metal Packaging (AMP) and Crown Holdings, along with the Washington-based Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), plan to provide financing for leases of can capture equipment for recycling facilities.

According to a news release from CMI, this new leasing option allows material recovery facilities (MRFs) to receive equipment at no cost and pay it off through the additional cans captured with the equipment. CMI will continue to offer aluminum can capture grants as well. Last year, AMP and Crown helped to fund five grants through a program in partnership with The Recycling Partnership that went toward purchasing can capture equipment in MRFs.

To show the economic and environmental impact of the need for additional can capture equipment, AMP and Crown funded in-person testing at three MRFs that showed what it calls “significant opportunities” for capturing missed cans. CMI reports that the testing focused on five points across the three MRFs where cans tend to be missed, and those five points averaged between seven and 36 UBCs missed every minute.

“CMI modeling finds that if all of the more than 350 MRFs sorting residential recyclables across the United States has perfect sortation of used beverage cans (UBCs), 3.5 billion cans could potentially be captured,” says Jennifer Cumbee, chief sustainability officer at AMP. “We are committed to continuing to activate additional can capture equipment in MRFs as part of our industry’s effort to build on our industry-leading recycling and recycled-content rates, further strengthening the beverage can as the idea sustainability choice for our customers.”

In addition to the testing program, CMI also released two additional online resources for MRFs to determine the benefits of additional can capture equipment. One is an easy-to-use return on investment (ROI) calculator to determine the ROI from installing additional can capture equipment. The other tool is a companion playbook that explains how to test levels of can missortation and then plug the data into CMI’s ROI calculator.

“This initiative is designed to add data from the field, produce useful tools and develop new case studies of MRFs using the revenue from the cans captured from the equipment to pay for its cost,” says John Rost, vice president of global sustainability and regulatory affairs at Crown. “With these new proof points and tools, the goal is to spur recycling facilities around the country to choose to invest their own capital in capturing more UBCs, often the most valuable commodity flowing through MRFs.”

Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), Ann Arbor, Michigan, conducted the testing on behalf of CMI in March and April at three MRFs that vary in modernization levels and geographic locations. CMI says the testing results indicate the ability of revenue from captured cans to pay for investments in can capture equipment.

While actual revenue generation may differ for MRFs depending upon regional factors, the testing results showed that the average annual loss from beverage cans per loss was $71,940 using a five-year average of UBC scrap prices. CMI reports that at this revenue level, it will only take an average of three years of accumulated revenue from cans captured at one of these loss points to equal the cost to acquire, install and operate additional equipment at a loss point that ensures the cans are captured.

“A lease where the material captured pays for the equipment is uniquely suited for aluminum beverage cans because UBCs are one of the most valuable commodities in the recycling system,” says Scott Breen, CMI vice president of sustainability. “The plan is to use the money paid back on the loans to finance equipment at other MRFs.”

Additionally, the data taken from these three facilities shows that nearly 22 million more UBCs could be captured each year at these three MRFs if they were to install additional equipment to capture cans at the points that were tested.

CMI says MRF operators interested in doing tests at their facilities or looking into financing options from CMI should reach out to Breen at sbreen@cancentral.com.

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