The Amazing Truth About Aluminium Recycling

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 Life-cycle - Aluminium Recycling

Aluminium Life-cycle – Aluminium Recycling

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.

Fact 1

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.

Fact 2

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.

Raw Bauxite Ore

Raw Bauxite Ore

Fact 3

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!

Fact 4

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.

Fact 5

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.

Norsk Hydro Power - Aluminium

Norsk Hydro operates the largest primary aluminium plant in Europe.

Fact 6

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.

Fact 7

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

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