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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

 

Water Regulations in California

As of May 18, 2016, the California Sate Water Board adopted a new set of emergency water regulations to replace those put in place on February 2 as a result of less severe drought conditions than previously. This regulation will be in effect from June 2016 to January 2017. Conservation standards are set locally, with specific circumstances in mind. Due to the drought that is persisting for what is the fifth year in a row, conservation of water is now of the utmost importance.

There are, however, restrictions on the use of water. Hotels, bars, and restaurants are not permitted to serve their clients water unless it is specifically requested. Hotels and motels are required to place signs in each room telling the guests they may elect not to have towels and linens washed daily. Californians are banned from watering lawns and landscaping with potable water in the 48 hours following any measurable rainfall. Cities, counties, water districts, and private companies must limit lawn watering to two days per week unless they already limit days for watering per person.
water is life Continue reading “Water Regulations in California”

Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Materials

Our planet continues to relentlessly grow in population. A corresponding growth in waste products also occurs. Our society has an etiquette that separates waste products from our immediate living areas.

This waste creates huge environmental problems impacting the entire planet. Recycling is a method to responsibly deal with this problem. The goal of recycling is to separate waste products into two major categories, Biodegradable and Non-biodegradable.
biodegradable material info(Definition) Biodegradable materials are composed of waste from living organisms and the actual plant, animal or other organism when its life ends.

Examples of Biodegradable materials, often referred to as “bio-waste”, include the following:

• Human and animal waste
• Plant products, wood, paper, food waste, leaves, grass clippings
• Remains from the death of living creatures

It is very important to note that biodegradable waste can serve to support the future life of other organisms. This waste can be used to provide nourishment and a healthy environment condition for living organisms, which of course includes humans.

Changing biodegradable materials into something useful and nourishing is called bio degradation or decomposition. This process includes the help of other living organisms, such as bacteria, fungi and small insects. Other natural elements such as water, oxygen, moisture and sunlight also required to enable decomposition.

non-biodegradable waste
(Definition) Materials having properties that do not breakdown or decay are called Non-biodegradable.

Examples include:
• Glass
• Metals
• Plastics
• Electronic devices
• Medical waste

Non-biodegradable materials do not breakdown naturally. But, that doesn’t mean they cannot be reused. The key difference here is that the process requires time, energy and expense. Glass and plastic can be reused to make other products, but the waste must first be separated by type of material and then processed into a usable substance.

bio vs non-bioBiodegradable materials recycle naturally to a usable substance. However, they can still be a hazard to society. The methane gas byproduct from decomposition is harmful to the environment. There are methods to capture this gas to use as a source of energy.

Non-Biodegradable material waste creates more of a problem for society. Discarded computer parts, batteries,, used motor oil and medical supplies all contain harmful chemicals. Society must devise methods to encourage separation of these materials so they can be treated for reuse or safe disposal.

Recycling is a process to protect society from hazards of our huge volume of waste problems. Knowing more about the types of waste will encourage active participation in solutions.

Aluminum Recycling Facts

Currently Americans are recycling 2 of every 3 aluminum cans that are being used. That’s a good start, but we can do better.

recycle aluminum cansAluminum Old Recycling Facts:

  • During the last 20 years we have wasted over 11 million tons of aluminum cans. That is about $12 billion today.
  • It took 19 aluminum cans to make one pound 20 years ago. Now, there are lighter cans, it takes 29 cans to make a pound.
  • The aluminum industry paid over 1 billion in 1997 for all the recycled items.

Facts About the Current State of Aluminum Recycling

  • Recycling one aluminum can, can save the same amount of energy that is necessary to keep a 100 watt light bulb burning for about 4 hours.
  • Using recycled aluminum to make beverage cans can cut air pollution by almost 95 percent.
  • It’s possible for a recycled aluminum can to be back on a store shelf in about 90 days.

FoilDifferent Types of Aluminum That Can Be Recycled
Most people think of aluminum cans when considering aluminum items that can be recycled. There are, however, several things made of aluminum that can be recycled. Just look around your house, most windows have an aluminum border on the screens.

In spite of the progress we’re making we still waste an incredible amount of aluminum. It’s important to remember that there is no limit to how many times aluminum can be recycled.