ABC's of Recycling,
‘A’ – All About Aluminum
Jan 06 2022
Discover How To Recycle, Reuse and Respect Our Earth’s Resources
‘A’ – All About Aluminum
SCARCE begins 2022 with a new eco-education goal. Each month, we will explore ways to best recycle and reuse our precious natural resources.
January gets us started with a recyclable favorite.
A – Aluminum
Aluminum is magic. It’s lightweight. Doesn’t corrode. And it’s 100% recyclable—forever!
That’s right–there is no limit to the number of times you can recycle aluminum. In fact, it’s cheaper to recycle aluminum than it is to make something out of new, raw materials.
Aluminum is created using either alumina ore or bauxite, through a process that requires electrical energy and large amounts of water. Unfortunately, bauxite mining is really dirty– creating caustic wastes (some of which are radioactive), as well as impacting local water resources. When mining bauxite, twice as much waste is created for every ton of aluminum produced. Recycling is cleaner in so many ways!
- Ancient Egyptians and Greeks used aluminum compounds to fix dyes and stop wounds from bleeding.
- Napoleon III had France’s precious stock of aluminum turned into cutlery for his use only, and maybe, a few honored guests. Everyone else at the table had to make-do with gold.
- In 1884, the Washington Monument was completed in a ceremony that crowned the building with a pyramid shaped top made of aluminum.
According to the midwest company Cohen, which has been recycling for almost 100 years, aluminum is “so recyclable that about 75% of all the aluminum ever manufactured is still in use today.”
Considering that in the US we use 80,000,000,000 cans a year (yep, that’s 80 BILLION cans), recycling is a very good thing. In some parts of the US, a recycled can could be back on the shelf in just 2 months. Aluminum isn’t only for cans. It’s also used in cars, bikes, windows, gutters, and lots more.
All of which can be recycled, by the way!
- Choose aluminum! Aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials you can buy.
- Don’t smash cans! Crushing the cans makes it harder for the machines (eddy current separators) that sort recyclables to do their job. No hockey-puck cans, please.
- Don’t remove the pop tabs! Small pieces are harder to recycle and can cause problems for the sorting machines.
Questions about recycling? email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll address your questions in future posts.