How Recycling Aluminum Helps The Environment

Most people tend to go through their day-to-day routine without ever stopping to appreciate the comforts and luxuries we take for granted. Rarely do we think about where the gas that we pump into our vehicles comes from, or how chicken nuggets are made, or how many plastic water bottles are purchased at thousands and thousands of convenient stores across the country. What's more is we seldom think about the impact it has on the Earth on which we live. The feeling can be applied to anything: food, beverage, cigarettes and alcohol, CDs, DVDs, packaging material, and smart phones, laptops, and keypads. If you have to put it in a word: Consumerism. So what can we do to limit our impact on the Earth in this way? 

Fortunately the answer is already in front of us, and a decent amount of us are making efforts to get into the habit. Recycling is good for the environment in a number of ways. It reduces the use of energy and resources, and can save millions of dollars each year in manufacturing and production costs. One of the easiest items that can be recycled today is aluminum. Aside from canned beverages, aluminum is used in a variety of items, including kitchen foil and utensils, window frames, aeroplanes, telescope mirrors, children's toys, and packaging. Let's take a further look at how recycling aluminum is good for the environment. 

Saves Resources 

More than 100 billion aluminum cans are manufactured and sold in the United States every year, and less than half of those cans even make it to a recycling bin. Most end up in landfills, or are incinerated, which only escalates the global warming issue. With 1.5 million tons of aluminum wasted each year, it's easy to see how recycling your Coke cans can drastically help the environment. 

Saves Energy 

Recycling not only saves new resources, it also reduces the energy use required to produce or manufacture that product. For example, recycling a pound of aluminum, or 33 cans, will save 7 kWh of electricity.  To put it in simpler terms, recycling one aluminum can provides enough energy to power a television set for up to 3 hours. That might not sound like a lot, but think about how much you can watch in 3 hours time. 

Sustainable Metal 

Aluminum cans are 100% recyclable. Aluminum is classified as a sustainable medal. This means it can be recycled again and again without ever losing material. It's hard to understand, then, why more and more people aren't recycling. Hypothetically, we should be using the same cans (or material) they were drinking from when Bill was campaigning for Presidency. 

Reduced Environmental Impact 

The process for producing aluminum products is extensive and expensive. Making aluminum products requires the use of aluminum and Bauxite ore, a material that must be strip-mined and made into alumina. This process poses several environmental risks, the first being the removal of elements like aluminum and Bauxite. These substances can potentially contaminate water supplies and impact the health of people and animals in the surrounding area.

Helps Local Communities 

Recycling programs help strengthen and support their local communities by sponsoring events, donating to schools and after-school programs, and organisations like Habitat for Humanity. Recycling cans has allowed the industry to pay out billions of dollars to these services, and has raised public awareness of the importance of recycling materials. Other programs that help to support the local econmy include 'Bottle Bills' programs, in which a grocer charges a fee for a bottled beverage that is returned when you return the bottle for recycling. States that still employ this method generally see recycling rates as high as 75-95% compared with other locations.