The Amazing Truth About Aluminium RecyclingShea
Its a fact, aluminium has become one of the most sustainable building materials on earth. Aluminium cans are thrown away by the millions every day without a second thought about where they finally end up. Aluminium windows and doors are often discarded as scrap – have you ever wondered what happens to them?
Aluminium gets recycled. A lot! The recycling of aluminium products is a closed-loop process that can be repeated indefinitely. Unlike some plastics and metals, the life of an aluminium product doesn’t stop after use. Regardless of the product – cans, window frames, doors or cars – the aluminium itself is not consumed, only used. This makes aluminium one of the most valuable materials in buildings and projects that are marked for demolition. Here are 7 unbelievable facts regarding the recycling of aluminium.
Approximately 75% of the aluminium produced to date is still being used in some form today. The majority of this aluminium is currently used in architectural and building applications.
The energy required to recycle aluminium is only 5% of the energy required to manufacture the same amount of Aluminium from bauxite (the raw material required to manufacture aluminium). This means recycling aluminium saves a whopping 95% of the energy used to produce the same amount of virgin aluminium.
Recycling a single aluminium beverage can will save enough energy to power an LCD television for up to 3 hours. It will also avoid CO2 emissions equivalent to a +/- 2km car journey, and could be reincarnated back on the supermarket shelf as another beverage can within 60 days!
Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely without a significant loss of quality, unlike other common materials such as plastic, paper and timber that are usually down-cycled, reducing the products quality and limiting their use every time.
Canada and Norway boast two of the worlds largest aluminium producers, what’s more, is that they use 100% hydro-power as their energy source. This is significant due to the large power requirements involved in ‘virgin’ aluminium production.
Over the course of one year, Aluminium recycling saves enough electrical energy to power The Netherlands for a full year. It also prevents more than 90 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere each year.
Emission savings from aluminium recycling are increasing continuously, having doubled since 1990. They are expected to increase by a further 50% by next year (2020) when compared to 2013. Now that’s some green news!
Factual source: International Aluminium Institute