Aluminum seems to be one of the more common materials in the United States in which the public is reminded to recycle consistently. It’s a great material that can be reused and can create a closed loop system if recycled properly.The infographic above shows the lifecycle of an aluminum can from beginning to end.
In a nutshell the process of recycling an aluminum can goes as follows:
- The consumer throws aluminium cans and foil into a recycle bin.
- The aluminium is then collected and taken to a treatment plant.
- In the treatment plant the aluminium is sorted and cleaned ready for reprocessing.
- It then goes through a re-melt process and turns into molten aluminium, this removes the coatings and inks that may be present on the aluminium.
- The aluminium is then made into large blocks called ingots. Each ingot contains about 1.6 million drinks cans.
- The ingots are sent to mills where they are rolled out, this gives the aluminium greater flexibility and strength.
- This is then made into aluminium products such as cans, chocolate wrapping and ready meal packaging.
- In as little as 6 weeks, the recycled aluminium products are then sent back to the shops ready to be used again.
Some Facts About Aluminum Recycling:
- It saves 95% of the energy compared to making aluminium from its raw materials (known as primary production).
- It saves 95% of the greenhouse gas emissions compared to the primary, or smelting, process.
- It saves raw materials. It reduces the space needed for landfill – where waste is buried in holes in the ground.
If you are a consumer of aluminum cans in your day to day life, please recycle the can or save it to recycle later if there aren’t any recycling locations nearby. It makes a great difference in how we continually use our resources from nature.