Why Recycle Aluminum?
Aluminum recycling is profitable because extracting this metal from aluminum ore is expensive, it pollutes the environment, and it consumes a big amount of energy. to know how aluminum is employed to form everyday products, let’s examine how an aluminum can is formed. once we recycle aluminum cans, we eliminate the initial steps, and therefore the recycled aluminum becomes a part of a cycle that will occur over and once again without loss of the aluminum’s properties.
Aluminum is extracted from an ore referred to as bauxite, which consists of alumina (Al2O3) and other compounds that contain aluminum, silicon, titanium, and iron. alumina is separated from the opposite elements using the Bayer process, which consists of three stages. First, bauxite is dissolved during a solution of caustic soda at high and temperatures. The resulting mixture contains an answer of sodium aluminate [NaAl(OH)4] and undissolved bauxite residues containing iron, silicon, and titanium.
Sodium aluminate forms through the reaction of alumina with caustic soda and water.
In the second stage, the sodium aluminate solution is pumped into an enormous tank and cooled, and, because it cools, the sodium aluminate decomposes to make aluminum hydroxide [Al(OH)3] and caustic soda.
In the third stage, the aluminum hydroxide is heated to 980 oC, which forms alumina.
The aluminum is then produced from the alumina through a way called aluminum smelting. it’s supported a process referred to as electrolysis, during which an electrical current is employed to supply the constituent elements from a compound. during this case, alumina is separated into aluminum and oxygen.
In the Western world, the cans are usually collected and sent to a recycling center, where they’re cleaned, sorted, and crushed. Then, they are going to an aluminum factory, where they’re shredded, re-melted, and solidified again.
In India, the cans are collected from garbage dumps and sent to small private companies, where the cleaning industry cleans them using acid at temperature and normal pressure. Then, they melt the aluminum cans during a furnace at 660oC and pour the molten aluminum into a mold, which later solidifies into shape.
Recycling aluminum is far cheaper than extracting it. Aluminum extraction requires temperatures of 1,000oC and tons of energy. And requires additional material—such as cryolite and sodium hydroxide—need to be used, and a big amount of electricity is required.
Advantages of Recycling Aluminum
The key advantage of recycling is that it reduces the quantity of waste that must be buried or burned. within the case of aluminum, there’s also another advantage. If old soda cans were simply buried, new cans would need to be made up of new aluminum that might need to come from aluminum ore. So, recycling aluminum has an economic advantage also as an environmental one.
Not all materials are economically advantageous to recycle. Plastic, for instance, is usually cheaper to supply from raw materials than it’s to recycle. So, while plastic is endlessly recyclable, it’s often burned or just buried because it’s not cost-effective to recycle it.
Other constraints also make materials, like green glass, less desirable to recycle. it’s not that the glass can’t be endlessly recycled, it’s because the color of glass can’t be changed—once it’s green, it’ll be green forever. tons of green glass is imported into us, containing foreign-made beverages like wine and beer. But few products are manufactured from green glass, meaning that the majority of it’s not recycled.
Another reason aluminum is simpler to recycle is that it doesn’t corrode, unlike other metals like iron. If left unprotected, iron is transformed by the corrosive process of rusting into iron oxide. When that happens, the metal has got to undergo expensive treatment to get rid of the oxygen while aluminum, which doesn’t corrode, can simply be melted and molded into a replacement product.
What is Aluminum Recycling?
First, allow us to provide a solution to the mind-boggling question of if you’ll recycle aluminum. From the subject itself, there should be little question that you simply can recycle aluminum. Now that we’ve cleared that, what does it mean?
It implies that it’s possible to reprocess used aluminum for brand spanking new use. during this situation, you send your aluminum cans and products to recycling centers. Then, they process it into a staple. (We will get to the step-by-step process of recycling later). Now once this recycling gets completed, they are available back as new materials. as an example, an aluminum can that housed soft drinks previously can come to deal with beer.
The great thing about this whole process is that it can continue indefinitely. Precisely, aluminum doesn’t lose its characteristics no matter the various times you recycle them. As such, you’ll still recycle without worrying about wearing out the aluminum material.
Also, confine mind that today, producers of aluminum work with various individuals, businesses, organizations, and even communities to the present end. They work together to make industrial and curbside recycling programs that benefit the industry and community.
Aluminum Recycling Process
The process of recycling aluminum is tremendously efficient. Only five percent of the energy invested in creating fresh supplies of aluminum is required to recycle an equivalent amount, and since aluminum is infinitely reusable there’s no loss of quality once the recycling process is finished.
Briefly, here’s how the aluminum recycling process works.
Step 1: Sorting
Materials placed in recycling bins or other receptacles are taken to waste transfer stations or recovery facilities for sorting.
Magnets could also be wont to separate metals, which leaves aluminum behind since it’s non-magnetic.
Step 2: Shredding
After being taken to reprocessing plants, the aluminum is cut or shredded into small pieces to scale back its volume.
Step 3: Cleaning
Using mechanical and chemical change, the surfaces of the aluminum pieces are scrubbed clean, to organize them for melting.
Step 4: Melting
Scrap aluminum is loaded in bales into high-temperature, high-capacity furnaces, and melted down at temperatures that reach or exceed 750 degrees Celsius.
Step 5: Removal of byproducts
To purify the molten metal, various waste products created within the melting process are removed, either mechanically or through the utilization of chlorine and nitrogen gas.
Step 6: 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 to support the planned uses for the reprocessed aluminum.
Step 7: Compounding
The molten metal is poured out and formed into ingots, which may be transported to aluminum processing or manufacturing plants to be made into new products.
Aluminum recycling may be a relatively simple and easy process, but it’s nevertheless highly efficient.
Recycling aluminum consumes 95 percent less energy than mining, processing, and manufacturing new supplies, and it releases 95 percent lower quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the fresh aluminum production
Interesting Facts About Aluminum Recycling
- The most precious material within the bin
- Aluminum is that the most recyclable of all materials. Discarded aluminum is more valuable than the other item within the bin.
- Aluminum cans lost to landfills
- Americans throw away quite $700 million worth of aluminum cans per annum.
- A major marketplace for recycling
- The aluminum business spends quite $800 million dollars a year on recycled cans.
- Recycling from can to iPod
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to concentrate on a full album on an iPod. In 2007, in a letter to Apple, Steve Jobs encouraged the corporate to expand its own product recycling efforts. the corporate has set a goal of 70 percent recycling efficiency by 2015.
Each year, the worldwide aluminum recycling industry prevents the discharge of 170 plenty of greenhouse gases into the planet’s atmosphere. Furthermore, the recycling of 1 ton of aluminum reduces energy consumption by 14,000-kilowatt-hours, prevents 40 barrels of oil from being burned, and saves 10 cubic yards of landfill space.
These are impressive and important numbers that tell you all you would like to understand about the utility of aluminum recycling. If you want to learn more about the aluminum recycling process and benefits please feel free to contact us. Albeit 75 percent of the aluminum ever produced remains in use, there are many potentials for improvement, which is where your commitment to recycling the aluminum you buy could help make the decisive difference.