How Are Aluminum Cans Recycled?

Recycling is an important part of reusing resources and reducing the toll that human activities take on the planet. The aluminum recycling process, in particular, has come a long way, providing individuals with massive returns on the products that they use. Recycling allows businesses to optimize their resources while reducing the need for extensive extraction processes on the earth itself.

The Recycling Process
aluminum compacted
Like any form of recycling, the process begins when a consumer throws away the aluminum cans into a recycling bin. When the bin is full of aluminum cans, the aluminum is collected and taken to a special treatment plant where it is processed. At the plant, the aluminum is sorted and thoroughly cleaned before it is ready for reprocessing. Afterwards, the cans are taken through their appropriate belts and melted. Here, the massive amount of cans are turned into molten aluminum. This process also removes inks and coatings that may have been present on the cans when they were released for consumer use.

ingots
After the aluminum has been melted, it is then processed into massive blocks called ingots. These ingots can contain as many as 1.6 million cans each. Once the ingots are collected, they are sent to mills where they are flattened and rolled out, which gives the material itself a greater degree of flexibility and strength. At this point, the raw aluminum sheets are processed into all types of products, such as meal packaging containers, chocolate wrappers, consumer foil and cans. The entire process takes about six weeks, and once it is completed, the recycled aluminum is then sent back to the market where consumers can buy the products again.

The Benefits

The benefits that come with recycling aluminum cans are tremendous. The plant itself is often open the entire day for 50 weeks out of the year. Each plant can recycle upwards of 18 million cans a day, which results in the production of 15 ingots a day that can weigh upwards of 27 tons.

During the recycling process, the plants can save as much as 95 percent of the energy necessary to create aluminum cans from raw materials. Additionally, the process can save up to 95 percent of greenhouse gas emissions when compared to the primary smelting process. The entire planet’s carbon footprint is reduced when recycling saves on raw materials, and treatment plants help reduce the space needed for cans in a landfill.

Free Recycling Event on Saturday in North Carolina

free eventDo you have electronics and personal paperwork you would like to properly dispose? The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Coastal Federal Credit Union, a nonprofit, are hosting a “Secure Your ID” day event for the residents of North Carolina.

The event was created to help prevent consumers and business owners from identity theft and fraud. Personal information is on old computers, cell phones, and documents. To minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, one must dispose of the private information properly. This event provides free document shredding, free destruction of computers and hard drives, and free electronic recycling. Take advantage of the free services this Saturday.

Date: Saturday, October 15th from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Location: 1000 St. Albans Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27609

 

Household Recyclables

Garbage is a serious issue in not only our country but the entire world. The average American creates 4.5 pounds of waste daily, however, there are plenty of ways to reduce that amount. By recycling plastics, paper, and other items, the amount of garbage that takes up space in landfills will shrink. Recycling also helps lessen greenhouse gas emissions, saves water, and minimize energy usage.

Living Areas

Items found in bedrooms and living room can be easily recycled. For example: If you have a desk in your bedroom that acts as a loose paper magnet, those piles of paper can be put to good use. Your junk mail and old paperwork can take a trip to the shredder and be on its way to the recycling bin. Old books, magazines, and catalogs can be recycled as well. Recycling all these items also gives you the perfect chance to de-clutter.

Bathroom

Often times the bathroom is the most overlooked source of recyclables, but it’s actually where you’ll find them the most. You can recycle plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles, toothpaste tubes, tissue boxes, plastic razors, and even old toothbrushes. There are many products like skin cosmetics and hair gel that people use so regularly that they forget that their containers can be recycled. Next time you are about to throw out an empty bottle of lotion, think twice.

Kitchen

The kitchen is a major source of traffic in any home. It’s where you keep your food, beverages, and cleaning products. All of those items have one thing in common; packaging! Plastic spray bottles, canned vegetables, glass pickle jars, and cardboard cereal boxes are just a few of many examples of what can be recycled. Sadly, most people throw these items into the trash bin without giving it a second thought.

As an inhabitant of planet earth, you should care about its well-being. By gathering the recyclables in your home, you can help minimize the carbon footprint left behind by numerous generations. For more information, call or visit your local waste management office.