BIER Stakeholder Spotlight: Scott Breen
Name: Scott Breen, Sustainability and Circular Economy Expert | Environmental Lawyer | Podcaster | Project Manager | Policy Analyst
Company: Can Manufacturers Institute
Welcome to our series aimed at spotlighting the individual leaders within BIER member companies and stakeholder organizations. Learn how these practitioners and their companies are addressing pressing challenges around water, energy, agriculture, climate change, and what inspires each of them to advance environmental sustainability in the beverage sector and collectively, overall.
Briefly describe your role and responsibilities and how long you have worked with your organization.
I am Vice President of Sustainability at the Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), which represents U.S. metal can manufacturers and their suppliers. My responsibilities fall into three main areas:
- Increase the recycling rate for all metal beverage cans: The aluminum beverage can is the most recycled drinks package in the United States and the world. The aluminum beverage can manufacturers and their suppliers want to build on this strength to achieve new heights.
- Promote the metal can as the most sustainable, circular package: The aluminum beverage can has many sustainability advantages including
- that metal recycles forever
- it is one of the most valuable recyclable commodities and without it most material recovery facilities (MRFs) that sort single stream recyclables would not be able to operate
- the vast majority of aluminum beverage cans are often recycled into new cans
- the average aluminum beverage can contains 73 percent recycled content.
However, the average person does not understand these sustainability advantages. They believe all recyclables that are accepted in their local recycling program have the same environmental and economic impact when recycled. CMI members believe higher recycling rates would result if more people understood that aluminum is valuable to recyclers and can manufacturers, and connected the impact of recycling cans to their values to protect the environment, conserve resources for their children, etc.
- Support the can industry’s legislative and regulatory efforts: I enjoy using my masters of public affairs and law degree to support the Government Relations and Technical and Regulatory Affairs leads at CMI. The can industry wants to ensure recycling policies are efficient and effective as well as recognize the can’s sustainability advantages and the investments made to establish the aluminum beverage can’s existing circular system that recycles nearly five million cans every hour in the United States.