Life Cycle Analysis Aluminum Can (used for beverages)

Posted by trevor.shah
Type: 
Full LCA available on the web
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2010
Language: 
English
Code: 
Package/Container (not paper specific)
Product: 
Aluminum Can
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Detailed LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Yes
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
Yes
Sponsor name(s): 
PE Americas
Sponsor type: 
Company
Summary
Functional unit: 
One thousand aluminum beverage cans
Goal and scope of the summary: 
This report outlines the life cycle inventory of an aluminum beverage can produced in the United States. The study was commissioned by the Aluminum Association (AA) to respond appropri‐ ately to the increasing market demand for life cycle data on the environmental performance of products. A life cycle inventory of a product quantifies all material and energy use and environ‐ mental releases over its entire life cycle ‐ from raw material acquisition through to ultimate disposal. The goal of this study is to provide the Aluminum Association, concerned aluminum industry stakeholders, and life cycle assessment practitioners with up‐to‐date life cycle inventory data for beverage cans of the following sizes as produced in North America: 8 oz., 12 oz., 16 oz., 24 oz. and 32 oz. The scope of the study is “cradle‐to‐grave”, i.e. starting with the extraction of the bauxite ore and including all processes required to produce an aluminum ingot, manufacture the aluminum beverage can, and recover and recycle secondary raw material from the used beverage can (UBC).  

Aluminum beverage cans are manufactured through the following major processes (Figure A): pri‐
mary aluminum production (including bauxite mining and alumina refining), secondary aluminum
production; aluminum can sheet production, and can manufacturing. These are shown in Figure A.
At the end of life of its useful functions, UBCs are collected, shipped and recycled back to
new aluminum metal. A proportion of the UBCs, however, are lost to landfills or other types of sinks
due to consumer behaviors.
In modeling both the primary aluminum and secondary aluminum production processes, a func‐
tional unit of 1000 kg aluminum ingot is used. Separate models for North America (US and Canada)
and global production were used to reflect the mixture of primary aluminum consumption in the US
in the target year. The production of secondary aluminum starts with scrap collection and ends with
secondary metal processing.  The casting of aluminum for subsequent can sheet production is con‐
sidered as one process.
In producing 1000 kg of primary aluminum, 5246 kg of mined and processed bauxite was
used to produce 1915 kg of alumina. 1018 kg of liquid metal was generated out of the electrolysis
Final Report: Can LCA
PE Americas
reduction process, 1000 kg of ingot was casted in the end, and the rest of the metal was recycled
back in a closed loop



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