Demand for aluminum has risen steadily over recent years and is predicted to increase further over the next two decades, with both the European car industry and construction industry likely to remain major end-users of this highly versatile metal. In the car industry, the need for lightweight vehicles is driving up demand for aluminum, in particular, wrought aluminum alloys for use in electric vehicles as the industry shifts away from internal combustion engines which use cast alloys.Read more
Aluminum is amongst the world’s most recycled and demanded metals.
Aluminum recycling is the processing of scrap aluminum that is reused in products after its initial production.
Table of content:
Can aluminum be recycled?
Yes, aluminum is one of the most recyclable, and one of the most recycled materials around. Recycling scrap aluminum requires only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminum extracted from its ore bauxite.
Is aluminum infinitely recyclable?
Yes, aluminum is infinitely recyclable. This means that it can be recycled over and over without losing any of its qualities.
The process of recycling aluminum is extremely efficient. Only 5% of the energy invested in creating new aluminum is required to recycle the same amount, and because aluminum is infinitely reusable there is no loss of quality once the recycling process is completed.
The following is the step by step aluminum recycling process:
Collection of scrap aluminum - Drinks cans, aluminum foil trays, and aerosol cans are collected from homes, streets and garbage collection centers. Aluminum scrap can be mixed with steel scrap. The scrap is collected together and is transported to the aluminum recycling plant.
Sorting - The mixed scrap metal (aluminum and steel) is taken to a materials recovery facility where they are cleaned, sorted into different metal streams. Magnets are used to separate metals, which leaves aluminum behind since it is non-magnetic. This step is very important in ensuring that the aluminum is separated from other metals.
Shredding - After being taken to reprocessing plants, the aluminum is cut or shredded into small pieces. This is done to make it easier to get rid of all the paintings and coatings. Also, shredding is done to promote the melting process.
Cleaning - Using mechanical and chemical processes, the aluminum pieces are scrubbed clean, to prepare them for melting.
Melting - Scrap aluminum is loaded into high-temperature, high-capacity furnaces, and melted down at temperatures that reach or exceed 700 degrees Celsius. A considerable amount of energy is used in this step. Still, the energy required to melt and recycle metals is much less than the energy that is needed to produce metals using virgin raw materials.
Purification - To purify the molten metal, various waste products created in the melting process are removed, either mechanically or through the use of chlorine and nitrogen gas.
Creation of aluminum alloy - Aluminum alloys are created by adding metals like copper, zinc, magnesium or silicon to the molten mixture. Alloy formulas are chosen based on the planned particular uses for the recycled aluminum.
Compounding - The molten metal is poured out and formed into ingots, which can be transported to aluminum processing or manufacturing plants to be made into new products.
Aluminum is recycled again and again. In fact, nearly 75 percent of all aluminum is recycled globally.
Advantages recycled aluminum
Aluminum recycling is a very important process because of numerous advantages:
Energy savings - Recycling aluminum uses about 5% of the energy that is required to create aluminum from bauxite.
Environmental savings - Aluminum is a metal that is mined from the earth’s crust as Bauxite ore. Recycling aluminum prevents continuous mining and depletion of this precious commodity. Also, aluminum recycling saves around 95% of the greenhouse gas emissions compared to the ‘primary’ production process.
Reduction of Landfill - Although aluminum is one of the most recycled materials on the market today, there is still aluminum that ends up in landfills.
Aluminum never wears out - Aluminum is infinitely recyclable, without losing any of its qualities.
Aluminum recycling companies
Aluminum is valuable at every stage of its life cycle, from production through to end of use. Aluminum recycling companies produce aluminum out of recycled metal, and they purchase primary metal to transform into semi-finished products. Recycling aluminum is crucial to the environment and the people all over the world. It is essential for all world economies to embrace recycling of solid waste and reduce carbon dioxide emission.
Articles about Aluminum Recycling
The quality control of aluminum scrap used as secondary raw material in aluminum production is becoming increasingly stringent.Read more
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ZAISERTSHOFEN – Precision turning parts expert, Lauble GmbH, have in the meantime two briquetting systems from RUF, which enormously simplify the management of the inherent chips. The company has saved a lot of space since they switched from centrifugation to pressing and simultaneously reduced the logistic expenditure.Read more
Increasing the aluminum purity and handling the specifically defined alloy concentrations in a targeted manner are becoming increasingly important when processing varied scrap aluminum.Read more
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ZAISERTSHOFEN – With the introduction of a RUF briquetting press Keiels Formenbau GmbH have simplified their working processes substantially, as well as massively reducing their costs. The briquetting system can press 50 kg per hour of Aluminium chips, which are produced during milling, into solid briquettes. When compared to the sale of loose, wet chips the company has doubled its revenues through selling Aluminium briquettes. In real terms this is a return on investment in about a year.Read more