Discovered in 1825 by Hans Oersted, aluminium remains one of the most versatile elements used across the world in manufacturing processes. From airplane fuselages to soda cans, its durability combined with its light weight make it the perfect material. The metal is also non-toxic, non-magnetic, and has the ability to resist rust or corrosion. Although it is not as strong as other metals, aluminium is still incredibly useful and also found in power lines, kitchen utensils, and packaging.
Its abundance makes it readily available for companies and individuals alike, but any surplus may unnecessarily end up in landfills. Recycling unused aluminium is the best alternative to the garbage can, and you make even get a bit of your money back.
What is the process?
Aluminium recycling is a relatively simple process with the right equipment. Recycled cans, wires, or airplane parts are melted down to create uniform sheets of the metal that can then be used in any manufacturing process. Unlike the process of creating new aluminium through the electrolysis of aluminium oxide, recycling is energy-efficient and only requires five percent of the new production energy.
How does this help the environment?
The main reason aluminium recycling is environmentally friendly is its ability to prevent fossil fuels from being used in the production of new metal. Coal and natural-gas powered plants generally fuel this process and recycling old cans and aluminium products is a great weight to reduce the potential carbon dioxide emissions.
The energy required to make one aluminium can is enough to power an iPod for the length of one album, so it is easy to see how millions of cans per year can result in significant energy savings.
How can You start Recycling?
The first step to beginning a recycling program in your home is by researching your garbage collection company. While some neighborhoods are afforded the luxury of roadside recycling pick-up, this isn't the case everywhere. If this service isn't offered, you will need to take your aluminium to the nearest recycling center where you might even be paid a small amount by the pound (as the material is actually lucrative for the recycling facility).
If you and your nearby neighbors pool your efforts together, you might even be able to convince the garbage company to implement a recycling pick-up program. If not, you could organize amongst yourselves a monthly or weekly program that only requires one person to make the trip to the recycling center.