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Recycle Aluminium

Recycle aluminium cans and foil to save energy and even earn money

Recycle Aluminium


Bauxite - the ore from which Aluminium is extracted

Aluminium is obtained from a raw material called bauxite predominantly in Latin and South America, Africa, and Australia. Recent technological improvements have seen the energy cost of producing one tonne of aluminium drop to 15,000 kW, but that is still a hell of a lot of energy on top of which must be added the energy of transporting the metal obtained around the world. Therefore aluminium recycling is extremely important and very easy for everyone to do.

Because of the energy used during extraction of aluminium from bauxite, aluminium is the only commonly used packaging material with a value that exceeds the financial costs of recycling it. To recycle an aluminium can costs only 5% of the energy used to create it in the first place. Aluminium can be recycled many many times without any loss in quality.

Aluminium can recycling plant

Currently in the UK 57% of aluminium used is already recycled, but only 42% of aluminium drinks cans and just 11% of aluminium foil is recycled (stats from International Aluminium Institute). Therefore everyone should get involved in ensuring their aluminium foil and cans end up being recycled and not in landfill.

Collected cans are sent to reprocessors where they are melted down and formed into 25 tonne ingots which can then be taken to rolling mills to be used in manufacturing, or to make more cans and foil.

At present aluminium cans are worth 0.40 / kg, but that price is increasing at the costs of aluminium increase along with other commodities. Around 50 to 60 cans make up one kilogram which is the minimum most aluminium dealers will accept. Aluminium foil should be kept separately as it is made from a different alloy to cans. (Aluminium foil includes take away food packaging, chocolate wrappers, and pie cases etc.) Foil which is found in milk and juice cartons cannot be recycled economically because it is in a laminate with card or plastic.

Article Published: 09:24, 19th Apr 2006

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