In general, recycling is a concept that is associated with various benefits. It can be defined as the process through which new products are created out of used and discarded materials. There are many different materials that are recyclable. They include paper, clothes, metal, glass, plastic, certain electronic goods, etc. Aluminum is one of those recyclable metals, and as per statistics, aluminum cans are among the most commonly recycled materials. As compared to most of the other recyclable materials, the advantage of aluminum is that it can be recycled indefinitely, as this process does not alter the structure of this metal.
How is Aluminum Recycling Beneficial
Aluminum recycling is not a recently invented process, and is a practice that has been followed from the early 1900s. Production of new aluminum involves electrolysis of aluminum oxide that is obtained from mined bauxite ore. This crude ore is refined (through Bayer process), before undergoing electrolysis. This is a process that requires large amounts of energy, and is hence expensive. Aluminum is one of the commonly used materials in day-to-day life, and there are thousands of articles made with this metal. The process of recycling aluminum involves shredding of the scrap, which is melted in a furnace. The waste is discarded, and the molten aluminum is used to make new products. Why is this metal recycled, and what are the benefits of recycling aluminum? Let us find out.
- Saves Landfill Space: As in case of recycling other materials, saving landfill space is one of the main benefits of aluminum recycling. According to recent studies, aluminum recycling saves around 60% of the landfill space.
- Saves Natural Resources: As most of the used and discarded aluminum articles are recycled, natural resources are saved. It is said that every single ton of recycled aluminum saves around four tons of bauxite ore.
- Saves Energy: Even the energy required for producing new aluminum can be saved through recycling scrap. In fact, only five percent of the energy required for making new aluminum products, will be needed for recycling scrap. So, every single ton of recycled aluminum saves 1500 pounds of petroleum coke. It is said that the energy saved by recycling a single aluminum can is enough to run a television set for three hours.
- Less Pollution: As far as the environmental benefits of aluminum recycling are concerned, the most important is reduction in pollution. As less energy is required to recycle aluminum (as compared to production of new ones), there is a significant reduction in emission of greenhouse gases.
- Employment Benefits: Aluminum being one of the commonly recycled materials, this business provides employment to thousands of people across the globe.
- Economic Benefits: In fact, the rate of scrap aluminum is very high, as compared to most of the other recyclable materials. This rate may vary slightly with the different types of aluminum scrap, like cans, foil, utensils, and rods. Even the cost of recycling this metal is very low, when compared to the production of new aluminum.
In short, aluminum recycling is beneficial in various ways. So, instead of discarding them, you may collect scrap aluminum, like beverage cans, and sell them for a good price. Unlike plastic and certain other recyclable materials, scrap aluminum need not be washed and cleaned before recycling.