Why It’s So Important to Recycle Aluminum
Summer is (un)officially here, which means that all around the country, people will sit back, relax and pop open a cold one! It comes as no surprise, that with the warmer months, also comes a higher volume of waste and recycling. This holds especially true for aluminum cans as people engage in summer parties, family vacations, and outdoor activities where lightweight, and easily chilled drinks can be served through the use of an aluminum can.
While almost everyone knows aluminum is recyclable, the nationwide recovery rate leaves room for growth. According to the US EPA, the United States recovers only 55% of all aluminum manufactured.
(In case you were wondering, the county with the best aluminum capture rate is Brazil, with a whopping 98.2% recovery. Japan is a close second, with a 82.5% recovery rate on aluminum.)
Clearly, we could do better!
So, why recycle aluminum!?
First, aluminum is infinitely recyclable. This means that no matter how many times it is processed, reprocessed, manufactured, remanufactured, and molded into something new – it will not break down or lose quality.
Your used aluminum can will continue to be remade into aluminum cans for years and years…as long as it ends up in your recycling bin!
Second, recycling these aluminum cans generates 95% of the energy savings that would be necessary to mine for raw material used to create new aluminum.
Lastly, unlike glass, aluminum packaging is very lightweight (yet astoundingly durable) which makes for increased fuel efficiency in trucks transporting it cross country. This means that trucks on the road emit less greenhouse gases!
DID YOU KNOW…It only takes 60 days for a used aluminum can to be put back on the shelves as a new aluminum can!?
Aluminum is collected as part of American Disposal Services’ single stream collection program. When it is deposited at the American Recycling Center, it enters the sorting line where it makes its way on to a special conveyor belt built for sorting aluminum.
A large rotor drum is located at the end of this conveyor, underneath the belt. When the magnets located within this drum rotate at high speeds, they create an energy field known as an eddy current.
As the material stream travels over this electromagnetic drum, the energy field propels nonferrous metals, like aluminum, out of the material stream and into a bunker for baling.
The baled aluminum will be reprocessed to make new aluminum cans!
View the whole process here!