Recycle Aluminum – How, Where and Why Recycle Aluminum?

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Recycle aluminum cans is one of the best things you can do to help the environment!

Recycle aluminum is an important recycling measure. If you happen to be one of the many Americans who tossed your soda or other beverage cans into a recycling bin last year, give yourself a pat on the back. You have just helped in saving millions of barrels of oil. The U.S. recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans has reached its highest level in more than a decade, with 58.1 percent of all cans recycled in 2010, according to the Aluminum Association, Can Manufacturers Institute and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

Americans recycled nearly 56 billion aluminum cans in 2010, and seeing that it takes 95 percent less energy to produce a can from recycled materials than to make one from raw materials, the increase in recycling meant a lot less oil had to be used! The amount of energy saved from aluminum can recycling in 2010 is equal to the energy equivalent of 17 million barrels of crude oil or nearly two days of all U.S. oil imports.

High recycling rates amounted to 4.6 million metric tons of aluminum scrap processed in the states last year, which was used to create new cans in America and 50 other countries, said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Unlike many recyclables – such as plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, which are rarely reused to create the same product – aluminum can be repeatedly recycled back into new cans.

Easy recyclability gives aluminum cans the highest recycling rate and greatest recycled content (a whopping 68 percent) out of any beverage container, such as glass or plastic.

A few reasons why it is good to recycle aluminum:

  • One hundred percent of a recycled aluminum can ends up as another aluminum can in as little as 60 days
  • An aluminum can has no limit to the number of times it can be recycled
  • Aluminum is the most recyclable of all materials: it is four times more valuable than other recycled consumer materials
  • Throwing away a single aluminum can is like pouring out six ounces of gasoline
  • Every day, more than 100 million aluminum beverage cans are sent to landfills, littered, or incinerated in the U.S.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum cans to rebuild an entire commercial air fleet every three months. Simple actions can mean big results.

Recycle Aluminum

Why recycle aluminum we ask again and who benefits? Well, we all do, and many charities from the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to local Lions Clubs and the Habitat for Humanity recycle these cans to earn money to help fund local programs. These recycling programs can be not only a revenue generator but a volunteer recruitment machine for many organizations both locally and nationally. As an prominent example, Habitat for Humanity has been in a national partnership with the Aluminum Association since 1997, with over 1,000 Habitat local affiliates that recycle aluminum cans which help to fund the building of new homes. Affiliates may hold can drives and place recycling bins across the community as well as get partnerships with local schools and businesses. You can even hold recycling charity events that can help to raise both funds and awareness! The great part is that people from all walks of life, not to mention all ages can participate in these events!

The US Senate has also jumped in to help the cause to recycle aluminum, for on November 18, 2011, the U.S. Senate passed, by unanimous consent, Senate Resolution 251, “a resolution expressing support for improvement in the collection, processing, and consumption of recyclable materials throughout the United States.”

Heidi Brock, President of the Aluminum Association had this to say following the passing of the bill; “The aluminum industry commends U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) for introducing this resolution—and to the U.S. Senate for its unanimous endorsement of it. Recycled aluminum provides an essential feedstock to the aluminum industry, and we strongly support efforts to encourage and expand recycling of aluminum and other high-value materials—particularly among consumers.”

Where can you find recycling centers if you don’t have a recycling program in your community? You can try Earth911 where they have a search for recycling centers across the nation, or if you are one of our friends from across the pond in the UK you can find information at the Recycling Guide UK. With all the problems people are having with finances these days, it is also a way to earn a few extra bucks for yourself if you find yourself in a pinch! You can also find out all you need to know about how and why to recycle aluminum from the The Aluminum Association. Peace my friends!

1 comment

  1. I love that you mentioned that aluminum is one of the most valuable metals to recycle. My grandfather has a lot of scrap metal on his farm and I’m going to talk to him about selling it. I’ll arrange for someone to come pick up the metal and take it to a vendor.

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