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Everything you need to know about aluminum recycling

Recycling aluminum has a considerable impact on the environment, primarily by driving down demand for the production of new aluminum.

What is aluminum recycling?

 

Like many other non-ferrous metals, aluminum is a resource that can be recycled back into itself and reused relatively easily, indefinitely, and with no degradation to the integrity of the material. 

Many common household items are made of aluminum, and many of the aluminum items used in today’s world are considered to be a one-time use. Drink cans, aluminum foil, baking trays, and pie pans are all common examples of household items that are made of aluminum and are commonly discarded after being used for a very short period. 

Many car parts, electronics parts, and construction materials are also made of aluminum, and a considerable amount of these products are recycled and repurposed as well. Much of the aluminum recycling in the US today occurs under municipal programs, in which consumer recyclables are collected curbside by employees of the municipality each week. Roughly one in three American households recycle their discarded aluminum products through such a program. 

Aluminum is one of the most recycled products in the US today. In fact, 75% of all aluminum produced since the industrial revolution is still currently in use. Approximately 67% of aluminum cans used in the US today are recycled, and are potentially processed, repurposed and re-sold as a new product up to six times per year!

Why should aluminum be recycled?

 

There are many important reasons to recycle aluminum. Aluminum is a finite resource that is used in abundance in many industries, as well as the average American household. Therefore, demand for aluminum is high! This Demand for aluminum increases as demand for technology, electronics, construction and automotive. Aluminum products are often intended to be one-time use, leading them to be discarded shortly after the valuable life of the product ends. 

Recycling aluminum alleviates the demand for “fresh” aluminum to be mined and produced, which is considerably more energy-intensive than recycling. Recycling aluminum negates some negative environmental effects that come from aluminum pollution in water and soil from discarded aluminum products.

Aluminum recycling environmental impacts

 

Recycling aluminum has a considerable impact on the environment, primarily by driving down demand for the production of new aluminum. Recycling aluminum is approximately 90% more energy-efficient than mining and producing new aluminum. 

Recycling aluminum also prevents negative environmental effects that come from throwing aluminum products away. The abundance of aluminum in landfills can cause the soil to become toxic to plants and animals in the surrounding habitat. Discarded aluminum can also cause poisoning in water sources, leading to issues for plants, animals and potentially humans who live in or consume from them. 

Aluminum cans take up to 200 years to decompose in the ocean; meaning, they will accumulate in ocean habitats, disturbing the animals who inhabit them for decades, potentially even centuries. Mining aluminum ore can also cause disturbance to local habitats. Recycling is by far the best option for minimal negative environmental disturbance. 

Aluminum recycling in technology

 

The tech industry is one of the largest consumers of aluminum as a resource in the modern world. Tech production is also one of the biggest consumers of industrial energy today. 

According to aluminum.org, recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to one full music album on an iPod. When Apple founder Steve Jobs learned of this fact in 2007, it inspired him to pen an open letter to the company, urging them to increase their recycling efforts. 

Apple is now a leader in aluminum recycling in the tech world, using 100% recycled aluminum in their device enclosures. Many other companies are following their lead, making the use of recycled material a high priority. 

Aluminum recycling process

 

Like that of many other metals, the aluminum recycling process today is fast and efficient. 

How aluminum recycling works:

 

  1. Scrap aluminum products are collected.
  2. Once the products reach a recycling facility, they are sorted and shredded to small pieces that are easier to process.
  3. The shredded aluminum is cleaned using chemical and mechanical processes. 
  4. The cleaned aluminum shreds are melted in furnaces at approximately 750 degrees celsius.
  5. Waste products are removed from the molten metal.
  6. Aluminum alloys are created by adding various other metals, depending on the intended use of the new aluminum product. 
  7. The processed aluminum is poured out into ingots and cooled and can now be transported to manufacturing plants for further use. 

Aluminum recycling prices

 

Aluminum is considered to be the most valuable recyclable material in the average household recycling bin. There are a large variety of aluminum items that can be recycled, many of which the average American uses daily. Many aluminum products in the US are also one-time use, such as soft drink cans, and they can accumulate quickly. Approximately $700 million to $1 billion worth of aluminum cans are thrown away in the US each year!

As of September 2021, the national average price for scrap aluminum in the US is approximately $0.57 per pound, and that value is consistently on the rise. The global aluminum market is currently worth about 150 billion dollars, making it clear that aluminum remains a resource with considerable value. 

Aluminum recycling companies

 

Although much of the aluminum recycled in the US today is collected by municipalities, private recycling companies exist as well. These are often specialized, collecting and recycling aluminum parts from specific products, such as automotive or electronics, then repurposing the recycled aluminum for use in the same company or industry. 

Aluminum recycling centers

 

It is also possible for a consumer to earn income by taking their recyclable household aluminum products to local recycling centers. Recycling centers will collect the scrap from consumers and pay them by weight, depending on the local rate. 

Aluminum recycling near me

 

The best way to find an Aluminum recycling center near you is to use a database such as Yellowpages, which makes it easy to find local businesses that cater to your needs. Recycling centers exist all over the country, and there are likely to be several in your area. 

 

Majestic Corporation has been a leading precious metals recyclers, non-ferrous metals and Catalytic converter provider for around five decades. With a presence in the United States, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Hong Kong and more, as well as a network of precious metals refineries around the world, we work with major customers and partners in a transparent and discrete manner and only offer the highest quality services at competitive prices. 


Contact us here for more information.



MAJESTIC CORPORATION
1 678.691.4257
info@majestic-corp.com

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