You may have never thought about the humble journey of an aluminium can after it is tossed away, let alone the fate of your aluminium windows and doors.
Aluminium recycling is a closed-loop (or cradle-to-cradle) process, because the life of the material doesn’t stop after you’ve finished with it. When you use aluminium cans, windows, doors and bicycles, the aluminium isn’t consumed, only used.
This means that after it’s first life, aluminium is ripe for recycling, making it one of the most valuable items in buildings marked for demolition. These 7 remarkable facts about aluminium recycling will give you a whole new perspective on this everyday metal.
- 75% of the aluminium ever produced is still being used in some form today.
The majority of this aluminium is used in building applications.
- Recycling aluminium uses only 5 per cent of the energy used in primary production.
That means that recycling aluminium saves 95% of the energy used to produce virgin aluminium.
- Recycling a single aluminium can saves enough energy to run your television for up to 3 hours.
It also avoids CO2 emissions equivalent to a 1 mile car journey, and could be back on the supermarket shelf as another can within 60 days.
- Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely without loss of quality.
Meanwhile, materials such as plastic, paper and timber are usually downcycled, reducing quality and limiting uses with each iteration.
- Two of the world’s largest aluminium producers, Canada and Norway, use 100% hydro power.
Aluminium refineries in Launceston and Invercargill, NZ are also powered by hydro.
- Aluminium recycling annually saves enough electrical energy to power the Netherlands for a year.
It also saves more than 90 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
- Emission savings from aluminium recycling are increasing all the time.
Savings have doubled since 1990 and are expected to increase by a further 50% by 2020.
Source: International Aluminium Institute
Read more about DecoWood's sustainability