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Aluminum Recycling

We can do all the recycling we want – from local, residential waste to large-scale industrial waste - but the most efficient and effectual recycling around the world is by far aluminum recycling. The benefits and the payoffs are universal, encompassing our environment, the economy, and our local community. Aluminum recycling saves energy, when compared to the processing of virgin ore; it conserves precious (and dwindling) natural resources; and it actually generates jobs in various inter-related industries. Just image how many billions and billions of aluminum cans we use in North America each year! The statistics are mind-boggling, and further show us that not even half of those cans are recycled. It’s the same story in other countries, with much of the aluminum waste being incinerated or landfilled, instead of being processed through aluminum recycling programs. With millions of tons of aluminum wasted every year – it also means that those trashed cans have to be replaced with newly manufactured cans – clearly a waste of virgin material, a waste of energy, and a source of damage to the environment. To everyone’s distress, the aluminum industry around the world releases millions of tons of carbon dioxide (amongst other detrimental gases) every year. The smelting process, by itself, produces sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide, both toxic, and both damaging the environment. In addition, producing new aluminum requires bauxite, which also has to processed and smelted – once again contaminating surface water and groundwater, and damaging the environment for humans and animals. The fact is, aluminum recycling can disengage the negative chain of events associated with the manufacture of NEW aluminum. 

The beautiful thing about aluminum is its unique recycling properties - there is no limit to the number of times aluminum can be recycled, and it can be recycled again and again, without losing any of its original attributes. Beyond that, modern day recycling and processing techniques have made aluminum recycling much cheaper and faster than ever before, not to mention being much more energy efficient. Aluminum cans are fully 100% recyclable (the most recyclable of all materials). Those aluminum cans that we mentioned before, if recycled through proper channels, could be completely re-manufactured and back in the store in about 60 days.

Aluminum recycling saves energy, big time. Whether we are using recycled aluminum to re-manufacture cans, roofing products, or cooking ware, it’s simply more energy-efficient than creating aluminum products from virgin resources. Once again, the statistics are revealing - we can produce 20 (recycled) aluminum cans with the same energy required to produce one (new) aluminum can from bauxite. In more day-to-day terms, the energy we save by recycling an aluminum can is enough to keep our TV running for three hours. Trashing aluminum, instead of recycling, is just plain wasting energy. By example, the energy used to replace all the aluminum cans wasted each year, just in the USA, is equivalent to the oil required to keep a million cars on the road for an entire year. And globally, the waste is of the same proportion. Unfortunately, aluminum recycling involves less than half of the aluminum cans sold each year around the world. And while we do recycle more every year, we could be doing much more!

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