Aluminum is infinitely recyclable and up to 95 percent less energy is needed to recycle it than to produce primary aluminum, which also limits emissions, including greenhouse gases. Today, about 75 percent of all aluminum produced in history, nearly 1 billion tons, is still in use. It's easy to understand why so many companies fall into the trap of aluminum's environmental appeal. An aluminum can can be converted into another aluminum can with virtually no loss in the process.
Most food-grade plastics, on the other hand, are “recycled” and their quality degrades every time they are recycled again. As in any recycling activity, the first stage of aluminum recycling is collection. This stage involves the collection of used aluminum materials from several homes. Typically, the materials collected will include aerosol cans, beverage cans, and aluminum foil trays.
Keep in mind that some of them may have specialized rules regarding their recycling. The reality is that most batteries will contain mixed materials. That is, the steel cans will reach the pile. As such, it is important to distinguish these materials.
This way, both can go through the correct recycling process. The next step is to shred the aluminum bales. And this happens in processing plants where bales are transported to. In this plant, the bales enter an industrial shredder that cuts the bales into small pieces.
This stage aims to ensure that it is easier for bales to lose all coatings and paints. Usually, these paints or coatings are for decoration and protection. This is perhaps the most important benefit to be gained from aluminum recycling. It saves us the expense of the considerable amount of energy needed for the new production of aluminum.
Another benefit of aluminum recycling is that it's cost-effective for both you and businesses. When it comes to producers, thanks to recycling, they spend less on raw materials. In turn, it makes it easier for them to make profits after production. In short, aluminum recycling is important for the environment and for people around the world.
It is essential that all economies in the world adopt solid waste recycling and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. One thing you've learned so far is that it's very possible to recycle aluminum. In fact, we've also discussed the process through which you can do it. However, we would like you to keep in mind that doing this is a great choice.
And that's why we've discussed the various benefits that aluminum recycling brings. So what is the aluminum recycling process and how do you recycle aluminum in the first place?. When it comes to electronics, Apple manufacturing its products with 100 percent recycled aluminum could set a promising precedent, but the net environmental benefits are not yet entirely clear. Making products with used aluminum is now a way for companies like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Apple to demonstrate their commitment to making their manufacturing greener.
Wood Mackenzie, an energy research company, analyzed the pros and cons of aluminum versus plastic to predict who might win “the water bottle war”. Recycling aluminum saves about 90 percent of the energy needed to make new aluminum, which is great, since extracting bauxite ore and converting it into aluminum is quite destructive to the environment and consumes a lot of energy. When it comes to recycling aluminum cans, it's useful for the local material recovery center (MRF) to place the cans in the recycling bin next to the sidewalk if your city has a mixed recycling program, instead of throwing them in the trash. This slag is collected and then goes through its own aluminum recycling process to extract waste aluminum from aluminum oxide.
It could be profitable for the planet, but only if products made with recycled materials replace those made of new aluminum and plastics and if consumers are more concerned about reducing their waste than about the type of bottle to buy. Transport emissions may be added, for example, from the supply of recycled aluminum. Today's manufacturers use approximately 35 percent of recycled aluminum and approximately 65 percent of natural aluminum to meet their manufacturing needs. The future of aluminum recycling will be determined by businesses, cities and individual residents who are willing to work to achieve a true circular economy.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the biggest source of aluminum scrap in municipal solid waste collection are aluminum cans and other packaging, including aluminum foil. Humans are far from perfect, and while some of the new aluminum cans will be recycled, others could easily end up in the trash. Switching from plastic to aluminum “partly solves a problem (less plastic), but it creates a new problem (more aluminum),” Thomas Kinnaman, an economics professor at Bucknell University who researches global recycling trends, told The Verge in an email. An aluminum can can go from end use to a new can that leaves the conveyor at an aluminum can recycling center in just 60 to 90 days.
Before the widespread commercial recycling of aluminum, aluminum used to be one of the most expensive metals on the planet; more than gold. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo announced this year that they are working to launch aluminum-packaged water as part of their efforts to reduce plastic waste. .