Little Known Facts About Aluminium Recycling And Why They’re Remarkable

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aluminium recycling

Introduction :

Recycling metal products from domestic waste is a perfect way to conserve energy. This also reduces the waste piles that we collect at home. Aluminium is a highly recyclable metal. The recycled aluminium needs only 5% of the energy required for making it right from scratch. The most significant characteristics of aluminium are its ability to be recycled repeatedly without loss of product integrity and minimal material loss through oxidation which is less than 2%.In addition to this, aluminium recycling saves 95% of energy and emissions as compared to making it from original ore, a key factor in a carbon-constrained world. The recycling advantage is demonstrated every day with the beverage can which can be sold, consumed, recycled and be available again in-store in as little as 60 days.

Aluminium is a light metal and the third most common element and the most common metal in the earth’s crust. Due to its properties, it is the second most important metallic material after iron. In alloy form, it can achieve strengths comparable to those of steel, with only a third of the density. After silver, copper and gold, it is the metal with the fourth-highest conductivity. It is used for overhead lines due to its lower density. The raw material for the production of aluminium is the mineral bauxite. This is converted into aluminium oxide in the Bayer process.

The sustainable management of aluminium has become crucial due to the exponential growth in global demand. The move to a cleaner society of lightweight electric cars has contributed to an increase in the use of aluminium in the transport industry. This has consequently led to the importance of aluminium recycling to prevent the valuable material stream going to landfill. In addition, the extraction of primary aluminium has a high environmental impact due to the high energy consumption and waste generation in comparison to secondary aluminium processing.

The recyclability of aluminium is a saving grace from the filthy side of primary aluminium manufacturing.  Recycling aluminium saves 90% to 95% of the energy needed to make aluminium from bauxite ore according to studies by the Aluminum Association. Example: One pound of aluminium cans if recycled can save about 7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. Or just to make one can from scratch in the primary process from bauxite, you could have made 20 recycled cans.

How is Aluminium Recycled?

Aluminium is the only metal by which the same primary aluminium product can be produced after recycling without material loss. So, this recycling is considered to be 100% productive and effective. Sustainable products are the future, and aluminium plays a significant role in the future.

Here is Aluminium recycling video by Norsk Hydro ASA which is a Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company, headquartered in Oslo.

Source : You Tube| Norsk Hydro ASA

Future trends in Aluminium Recycling:

Since 2000, global primary aluminium production has increased by 250% to an annual output of almost 65 million metric tonnes in 2018, much of this due to growth in China. Global demand continues to be fuelled by the need for solid, lightweight vehicle and transport materials (to minimize fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions), robust and long-lasting building and construction materials, food processing, advanced consumer goods and many other applications.

Aluminium’s durability and almost unlimited recyclability, needing just 5% of the original energy to manufacture primary metal, make it a vital material and product in the world today.  By 2040, global aluminium demand is projected to continue to grow, to as much as 90 million tonnes of primary metal per year with an additional 70million tonnes of demand met by recycled aluminium. However, it is clear that further intensification of global production must be sustainable and matched by effective solutions that can address both current and future environmental challenges faced by the industry. 

Advantages of Aluminium Recycling:

  • Major energy savings of up to 95% compared to the manufacture of primary aluminium
  • Reduced waste disposal and landfill;
  • Reduced capital expense by just 10% relative to primary smelting

Prospective demand for Aluminium

Almost 50% of aluminium demand comes from the transport sector, i.e. vehicle construction. Whether body, engine or rims, many parts of vehicles are made of aluminium. In the construction sector, on the other hand, it is windows, facade systems, structural parts or ceiling cladding that are made from the light metal. In the packaging sector, aluminium is used in the form of cans or foils. Housings, cables and heat sinks are important applications in electrical engineering. In the remaining fields, i.e mechanical engineering, iron and steel, and household goods, Aluminium is used in machine parts and pans, but also as a deoxidizer in steel production.

In the future, electromobility will lead to an increased demand for aluminium because, for example, the housings of batteries, power electronics and more parts of the body are made of aluminium. On the other hand, the grid expansion for the energy transition will lead to a higher demand for aluminium.

Latest research in Aluminium Recycling:

There is recent research that enhances Aluminium recycling technology. Aluminium recycling has received a boost through new research into the effects of crystallisation.

According to the researcher, Dr Biao Cai from the University of Birmingham’s School of Metallurgy, the iron is removed which is considered as a detrimental element to make aluminium brittle. This limits its use in premium application such as aircraft.

Current 3 recycle initiatives by United States

For decades, the metal can industry has spent millions of dollars to raise awareness of the value and positive effect of recycling cans and draw on the leading recycling rates among all food and beverage containers.

1.Metal Recycles ForeverTM Logo

Penn State University’s research into recycling messaging that highlights the transformational value of the item contributes to higher recycling rates.

2. In Material Recovery Facilities (MRF),Aluminum Can Capture Equipment is installed

Used Beverage Cans are typically the most valuable commodity in the recycling stream. Yet, up to 25% of cans are missorted at the MRF into the bales of other commodities such as plastic PET bottles and mixed paper, as well as the non-recyclable pile. Aluminum Can Capture Equipment in Material Recovery Facilities would help to prevent can missorting.

3.Deposit System Best Practices

Can Manufacturer Institute recognize that deposit systems play an essential role in increasing can recycle? Deposit systems are where customers are paid a certain amount, usually 5 or 10 cents, at the point of sale. They get the deposit back upon taking the beverage container to a redemption centre. 

Top 10 Aluminium recycling centres in the United States

  1. USA Scrap Metal & Recycling,Miami,Florida,USA
  2. United Scrap Metal, Inc.Cicero, Illinois, USA
  3. Aluminum Can Bank of America, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  4. Alter Metal Recycling, Pewaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  5. Can Land Recycling Center, Berkley, Colorado, USA
  6. Sims Metal Management, Houston, Texas, USA
  7. Potomac Metals Inc, Beltsville, Maryland, USA
  8. SA Recycling, Marietta, Georgia, USA
  9. Allan Co, Fresno, California, USA
  10. Alter Metal Recycling – Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas, USA

Best recycling way of Aluminium can on Amazon:

Compressing recyclables into approximately 1-inch pieces means taking more cans/bottles to the recycling centre in fewer trips! Your recycling haul will be worth more money, and best of all, you’ll be doing your part to help the environment.

1.McKay 16 oz. Metal Can Crusher, Heavy-Duty Wall-Mounted Smasher for Aluminum Seltzer, Soda, Beer Cans and Bottles for Recycling – Grey

2. Recycling Sorting Sticker Signs Decals – Paper, Aluminum, Plastic, Glass (Set of 4 Stickers)

3. Motifa 16oz Metal Can Crusher/Smasher – Pedal Style Aluminium Can Crusher – Heavy-Duty Can Compactor Recycling Tool for Seltzer, Soda, Beer Cans


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