Recycling is critical to sustainable development. It allows resources to be saved and waste to be reduced. The creation and promotion of markets for recycled products and the development of recycled materials are fundamental. Used aluminium is valuable - it is easily and endlessly recycled without quality loss. Aluminium makes a major and unique contribution to support product recycling into the future and to the benefit of society as a whole.
Aluminium in recycling
Used aluminium is an important resource which is highly valuable. For this reason, used aluminium is rarely lost. The aluminium industry has every interest in promoting the recycling of aluminium as part of its industrial strategy.
Aluminium has unique recycling qualities: the quality of aluminium is not impaired by recycling -it can be repeatedly recycled.
Aluminium recycling saves energy: remelting used aluminium saves up to 95% of the energy needed to produce the primary product.
Aluminium recycling is economical: it uses less energy and recycling is self-supported because of the high value of used aluminium.
Aluminium, as Part of the Solution
Aluminium helps attain overall recycling targets: its unique recycling potential and intrinsic value means that aluminium is the most cost effective material to recycle. The market for used aluminium is steadily growing. The more aluminium there is in a product, the more chance it has of being recycled.
The aluminium industry is developing and refining its recycling processes. This ensures that aluminium maintains its position as the most valuable material that can be recycled. The industry researches all economic and environmental factors in order to find the best recycling options.
Aluminium Industry Supports Recycling Initiatives
The aluminium industry actively provides increased recycling. In Europe aluminium enjoys high recycling rates, ranging from 41 % in beverage cans to 85 % in building and construction and 95 % in transportation. The industry is constantly investing and researching in collection and sorting improvements to achieve the best possible levels of recycling.
The aluminium industry is focusing on recycling in the context of increased global demand for used aluminium. Economic and environmental qualities of aluminium help meet targets set by stricter environmental legislation and make aluminium the material of choice by consumers. As a result, the demand for aluminium grows: its qualities, such as durability (less strain on resources) and lightness (requires less energy to transport) make it a favoured sustainable choice for transportation and building products.
The demand therefore for recycled aluminium exceeds supply for given products. The average life-span of aluminium products (12 years in automotive sector, some 30 years in building) also limits the supply of used products. To ensure the best recycling opportunities, the aluminium industry calls for the highest flexibility in recycling.
The aluminium industry is working towards easier recycling through enhanced product design for recycling and by ever improved efficiency in aluminium recovery processes.
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