Recycling aluminum, according to the US EPA, decreases the quantity that ends up in landfills by roughly 55%. Recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy necessary to manufacture cans from raw bauxite ore. In contrast to plastics, you do not need to remove paper labels or scrub the can clean. The aluminum can be recycled over and over again.
The most common method of recycling aluminum is through a process called melting/refining. This process takes aluminum scrap and transforms it into pure aluminum metal. The melting/refining process uses heat to change the composition of the aluminum scrap so that it can be reused in other products or sold as solid metal.
There are several different methods used for recycling aluminum including: vaporization, decomposition, hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, electrolysis and bio-hydrogenation. Most recycling methods produce more waste than they do material worth reusing. For example, when recycling aluminum cans, this means that less than 100% of the cans are recuperated and there is still some degree of waste involved.
The main advantage of recycling aluminum is its second-hand value. After removing any stickers or labels, checking for damage or contamination and sorting into types such as plastic bags or metal containers, you should expect to receive at least half of what you put in. There are also new technologies being developed that reuse aluminum materials inside the cans during manufacturing or after they have been opened.
Recycling may save up to 95% of the energy required to produce aluminum and steel from raw materials. Aluminum cans made from recycled metal are 20 times more energy efficient than those made from "primary" metal. Steel can be recycled many times - in fact, it is estimated that if all our steel were recycled, it would last for more than 100 years! Recycling also reduces the need for new mining and drilling for metal ore.
The recycling industry has come a long way since it started in Europe in the 1970s. Today, some 70 million tons of plastic waste is collected worldwide every year, with most of it being recycled into new products. Some 10% of this plastic scrap is actually used as fuel to make electricity and heat, which helps reduce pollution from fossil fuels.
Plastic bottles are one of the most common forms of disposable packaging. Only about 5% of plastic bottles are recycled, while the rest end up in landfill sites or leak into soil and water when they break down from use. This represents a huge environmental problem because only a small fraction of these bottles get recycled. Energy is needed to extract the bottle resin from trees and then mold it into new products. This means we are still using more energy after recycling.
Cans and jars are also commonly used disposable containers.
Aluminum. Aluminum can recycling saves 95 percent of the energy necessary to produce the same quantity of aluminum from its virgin source. A ton of recycled aluminum saves 14,000 kilowatt hours (Kwh), 40 barrels of oil, 130.152.32 million BTUs, and 10 cubic yards of landfill space.
That's enough electricity to light up Portland, Oregon for 6 months! Recycling one ton of aluminum reduces emissions of CO2 by 7,671 pounds (3441 kg).
The environmental impact of recycling other metals is also significant. For every ton of recycled steel, $140 worth of metal is saved; for every ton of recycled copper, $534 worth is saved. But even when these figures are taken into account, there is still a clear advantage in recycling aluminum over producing new metal.
Recycling also has advantages for the consumer. Aluminium prices are very volatile because it's such a widely used material. By recycling your cans you are helping to secure the future supply of this essential ingredient in many products from beer bottles to kitchen appliances.
Finally, recycling helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The main component of aluminum cans is water, which is easily obtained from natural sources like rainwater and ground water. There is no need to mine aluminum ore because it's present in large quantities all around us.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, aluminum cans contain around 68 percent recycled material, compared to only 3 percent for plastic bottles in the United States. As a result, aluminum is typically regarded as the superior environmental choice. However, both plastics and aluminum have their advantages and disadvantages.
The main advantage of aluminum is its light weight. They are less expensive than bottles too. However, they are not recyclable and therefore accumulate in landfills or incinerators. Also, they can release toxic substances when burned. Plastic bottles, on the other hand, are made from petroleum products which are non-renewable resources. But they do not release toxic substances when burned and are recyclable. In addition, plastic bottles are cheaper than aluminum cans.
There you have it! Aluminum is better than plastic for the environment. However, this doesn't mean that you should stop using plastic products. It's important to remember that plastics are used for an entire life cycle: from production to disposal, there are many steps that can reduce pollution. When choosing between plastic and aluminum, choose plastic if you prefer to be environmentally friendly.
Because recycling plastic is more complicated, causes deterioration, and has lower reuse rates than recycling aluminum, the metal has been hailed as a greener option. According to Environmental Protection Agency data, cans have an average of 68 percent recycled material, compared to only 3 percent for plastic in the United States. Aluminum is also 100 percent recyclable. However, because it is usually mixed with other materials in old cans or packages, it can be difficult or impossible to recycle it separately.
As far as health risks are concerned, there are no apparent health concerns related to drinking out of aluminum cans. However, plastic bottles contain chemicals known as phthalates that may leach into the liquid they contain. These chemicals have been linked to reproductive problems and cancer. However, since most people don't drink liquid inside of bottles any more, this isn't a concern for most people.
Aluminum has many advantages over plastic bottles. Aluminum is stronger per unit weight, less expensive, and doesn't break down into toxic components when burned. Also, aluminum doesn't produce any carbon dioxide when it melts, so it doesn't contribute to global warming. Finally, aluminum doesn't store well heat, nor does it retain odors very well so it's ideal for hot beverages such as coffee and tea.
However, unlike plastic bottles which can be returned to stores for refund or exchange, you're stuck with aluminum if it gets wet or damaged.
Recycling aluminum saves more than 90% of the energy required to produce new aluminum. Recycling aluminum saves more than 90% of the energy required to produce a comparable amount of the metal from raw materials. The other major material in aluminum cans is water, which makes them extremely recyclable. Water dissolves salt from the can coating to create a brine that is very toxic to humans and animals but that dissolves leftover food in the can.
The most common use for recycled aluminum is in packaging. For example, you might see packaged meals in boxes with several layers of plastic sandwiched around a core of recycled aluminum.
But aluminum is also used in many other products, such as pots and pans, automobiles, and appliances. It is even used as building material in some developing countries because it is an efficient thermal conductor that keeps buildings cool on hot days and warm at night.
Aluminum has one drawback as a recycling material: It becomes contaminated when it comes into contact with substances such as pesticides or heavy metals. But if the contamination is not too severe, it can be processed along with other waste materials.
In conclusion, aluminum is a versatile material that can be reused over and over again. There are many ways to recycle aluminum including recycling aluminum cans, old refrigerators, and old paint containers.