Exploring Aluminum Recycling

With the help of aluminum producers and recyclers, the public and other businesses are able to enjoy curbside and industrial recycling services. While there are many items that can be recycled, aluminum recycling is one of the most common types of recycling. Aluminum can be recycled from a variety of areas, including soda cans, wire, window frames, tubing and electronics. Yet, despite the fact that aluminum is so commonly recycled, many people know very little about this material. Here is a look at some interesting facts that you might not know about aluminum and aluminum recycling.

Aluminum is Valuable

In addition to being the most recyclable of all recyclable materials, aluminum is also more valuable than other items in the recycle bin. Yet, despite the value of this material, Americans throw away nearly $1 billion worth of aluminum every year.

On the whole, the recycling rate in the United States is just at about 67 percent, with the aluminum industry paying out more than $800 million a year for recycled cans. Each of these recycled cans helps to reduce the overall toll of the aluminum industry on the environment, as recycling just one can saves enough energy to listen to one full album on an iPod. This is because recycling saves more than 90 percent of the energy that is required to produce new metal.

The History of Aluminum Recycling
Aluminum recycling has been in practice for many years in the United States. In fact, aluminum foil played a vital role in the defense effort during WWII, with families encouraged to save stripes of foil. In many towns, the foil balls could be exchanged for goods and services such as being admitted for free to the movie theater. Government-sponsored ads, radio shows, posters and pamphlets urged Americans to contribute to these aluminum scrap drives.

Recycling Aluminum

A number of different methods are used to recycle aluminum. Curbside and municipal programs are the most commonly recognized methods for recycling, with these programs recycling items such as aluminum foil, beverage cans, pie pans and baking trays. The aluminum industry supports the Recycling Partnership, which is dedicated to helping to increase participating in curbside recycling programs.

Building and automotive parts are also collected for recycling. More than 90 percent of the aluminum in building and automotive parts is recycled when it is no longer in use.

Regardless of how the aluminum is collected, it is all sent to aluminum recyclers who then melt down the aluminum so it can be used in the secondary production process. The melted aluminum can then be recycled directly back into itself to be used over and over again. As a result, nearly 75 percent of all aluminum produced in the United States is still in use today.

Since aluminum can be reused in a closed loop process, it pays for itself to be recycled. As such, the demand for aluminum continues to be high. Therefore, not only does aluminum recycling help to protect the environment, but it also increases the ability to increase profits.