Aluminum Recycling

By: Harry Browar


Cans, foil, and other items such as trays are made out of aluminium. In North America one of the major product being recycled is aluminium. Though Americans recycle about 65-70% of the aluminium used in their household, thousands of tons of this is discarded each year.

People tend to think of pop cans as the only item to recycle. Actually, there are hundreds of other items made from this particular metal. Even large items like lawn furniture qualify. If you have something you're not sure about, give your local recycling center a call.

The process which aluminum products must go through before they can be used in new products is an interesting one. Aluminum products are collected from various recycling depots and taken to a processing plant that deals with scrap.

Once at the processing plant the aluminum must be sorted and then condensed into slabs. You may be wondering what happens to the labels on pop cans or other types of coating. This is all dealt with at the aluminum company, which is where the slabs are sent to next.

Once at the aluminum company the slabs are shredded and crushed. During this process any labels, coating, etc is removed. The shredded aluminum is then melted with new aluminum. Most aluminum products that we buy have approximately 50% recycled product in them.

Once it has been melted the aluminum can be made into any shape necessary. Of course, the process will differ slightly depending on the type of product that is being being made. Aluminum recycling sounds easy doesn't it?

As aluminum is the most common metal on the planet, why do we bother recycling it? We aren't going to run out of it for eons, but using new product is actually more energy consuming. Another issue is the waste factor.

A large amount of waste is being produced in North America. They are being put in landfill sites. Landfill sites are difficult to find and it is getting increasingly difficult to dispose our waste. Apart from this the waste is harmful to the flora and fauna in the area of the landfill.

Companies encourage people to assist in aluminium recycle programme. This is achieved by levying a small deposit against the cans that you buy. The deposit is refunded when you return the can. Once returned, these can be sent for recycling to the recycling plant.

Recycling benefits everyone. It not only cuts down on our waste and saves energy, but it also creates jobs and is good for communities. While most people do their part to recycle and help the environment, many don't, and are still throwing away their aluminum cans and other recyclable products.

If there is no recycling program in your area why not get an environmental group started and make that your first project? You will probably find that many people want to get involved, including local area businesses.

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Harry Browar is the chief editor for First Alluminum, the web's premier resource for information about alluminum. For more articles on alluminum visit: www.firstaluminum.com/articles
This and other unique content aluminum articles are available with free reprint rights.

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