Strong, durable and easily recycled, aluminium provides a sustainable alternative to timber, wood composites and PVC building products.
+ 75% of all the aluminium ever produced is still being used in some form today.
+ 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. Aluminium recycling annually saves enough electrical energy to power the Netherlands for a year.
+ Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely without loss of quality. Meanwhile, materials such as plastic and timber are often downcycled, reducing quality and limiting uses with each iteration.
+ Canada and Norway, two of the world’s largest aluminium producers, use 100% hydro power. Aluminium refineries in Launceston and Invercargill, NZ are also powered by hydro.
+ 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.
The Problems With Timber
The two biggest problems with using timber as a construction material are logging and greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately not all timber supplied into the Australian market comes from sustainable plantations. For example, one of the most common hardwoods known as Merbau or Kwila is a rainforest timber and the habitat of endangered species such as orang-utans.
All timber building products, once installed, demand regular care and maintenance such as painting or staining. The Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) released into the atmosphere with each layer are greenhouse gases and harmful to the environment.
Wood composites are held together with glues also containing VOCs and are renowned for fading and disintegrating at an alarming rate. Both timber and wood composites require more frequent replacement, consuming more resources.
Did you know that 75% of all the aluminium ever produced is still being used in some form today? The majority of that aluminium is used in building applications.
Aluminium recycling is a closed-loop, 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, and is ripe for recycling.
Aluminium's long lifespan and inherent strength ensures that it fulfils its intended purpose for many decades before its afterlife even needs to be considered.