Aluminum recycling – why is it important and how to do it



Have you ever asked yourself what item made by people is more dangerous than plastic bags? Well, you may think that there is none, but the fact is that the aluminum cans are considered more ubiquitous. However, the great difference is that if people choose to recycle aluminum cans then the impact they have on the environment is not as harmful as the ones of plastic bags. The plastic bags that get into the water do a lot of harm to marine life, and in case they get to a landfill then they become trash. But, aluminum cans can be recycled and in this way they can help people help the planet. Therefore, you may ask yourself why you should bother to recycle aluminum. Well, you should know that it will have many economic, environmental and community benefits. Also, it will help companies save time and energy, because mining for resources would be more expensive and harmful to the planet. If you recycle aluminum you will help the community you are living in, because there will be created millions of job positions, and the process will pay for itself.

Is aluminum recycling essential?

Usually, people do not take measures until they do not see that the problem is getting serious, so you may ask yourself if this issue is harmful to the society. Well, you should know that every year millions of aluminum cans are sold in every country, but less than half of them are recycled. So you should ask yourself where the rest of the cans get. Have you ever wondered what happens with the soda can when you throw it into the garbage? There are cases when it gets to a company that is specialized in aluminum recycling Mississauga, but in the majority of situations, they it is added to the wasted items from all around the world. All the cans that get to the trash have to be replaced with new ones, and this leads to a waste of energy and environmental damage. But if the old cans are recycled they can be reused and there is no need to use virgin materials.

What happens if people fail to recycle?

One of the causes of global warming are the greenhouse gases emitted by the aluminum industry. When it comes to its weight, aluminum is not as heavy as the other metals, but it produces 15% of the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming. If recycled products are used, then the production of greenhouse gases would be reduced, and the harm on the environment would not be big. When virgin materials are smelt the process produces nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide. They are toxic elements that lead to acid rain and smog. Also, the aluminum cans made from new materials require the use of bauxite that has to be refined before turning it into aluminum. During the process of transforming bauxite into aluminum there is created caustic mud that can contaminate the groundwater and surface water from the area where it is processed. This means that the people and animals that are living in that area will experience health issues.

How many times can you recycle the same can?

The great thing about aluminum cans is that they can be recycled multiple times, without losing their characteristics. This is the reason why aluminum is considered to bring multiple benefits to the environment, but only if it is recycled. If there is a sustainable metal, then that is aluminum, because you can recycle it again and again, and it does not losses its qualities.  And the process of recycling it is quite affordable and energy efficient, so there is no wonder there is such a great focus on it. Because these cans are 100% recyclable, they are considered one of the most valuable materials. In no more than two months, the cans will be back on the shelf.

What can be done to recycle more?

The best thing people can do is to recycle by themselves, and not wait for someone else to do it. But because many are not aware of the effects of mining for virgin materials, the government of different states should create rules that ask the citizens pay for the aluminum cans that are made from new materials, because in this way they will recycle more.  

Steps to recycle aluminum

Here are the main steps the process of recycling aluminum implies:

  • Collection – people are responsible for this step, because they have to collect the cans, trays and other objects made from this material. Also, the items thrown on the streets should be gathered by the institutions responsible with cleaning the streets and taken to the recycling centers. It is important to collect the items separately from the ones made from other metals, because the majority of people use to put them together with the steel ones.
  • Sorting – In case the cans are mixed with others made from different materials, it is important to clean and sort them according to the category they are part of. After they are sorted they are compressed into small parts. It is very important to sort the cans, because in this way the aluminum is separated from other metals.
  • Shredding – from this point on specialized companies are handling the aluminum. A special shredder is used to cut the items into small pieces, because it is easier to get rid of the coatings and paintings in this way. Also, the metal melts easier if it is placed into the furnace as small pieces.
  • De-coating – the small pieces of aluminum are placed into a decoater that has the role to detach the decorations from the metal. The device blows hot air through the metal pieces and the coatings and paintings are removed.
  • Re-purposing – the molten aluminum is placed into a holding furnace to create new aluminum. Here the metal is turned into ingots, every ingot is made from more than 1.5 million of cans. The ingots are sent to the manufacturers that need aluminum to design different items. In no more than two months, the aluminum gets back on the shelves of the store in the same form or a different one.