Aluminum recycling, due to its physical-chemical properties and because it is widely used, generates a good financial return for specialized companies. The aluminum recycling process consists of reusing aluminum to make new products. This is much cheaper and consumes much less energy than producing aluminum from bauxite.
Aluminum can be recycled from scrap metal as well as from leftovers from the production process. Recycled aluminum can be obtained from window frames, automotive components, household appliances, beverage cans, among others. Check out the step-by-step of aluminum recycling in this article!
When we talk about recycling, the first thought we have is of aluminum being recycled.
What reinforces its vocation for recycling are its characteristics that allow for infinite recycling without losing its properties.
Aluminum can be recycled both from scrap generated by discarded products and from leftovers from the production process. Household utensils, beverage cans, window frames, automotive components, among others, can be melted and reused in the manufacture of new products.
In Brazil aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled, due to their high consumption and a much shorter life cycle than that presented by other aluminum products.
Stages of the aluminum recycling process
The aluminum residues (cans and other aluminum materials), which have already been used and discarded, are forwarded to recycling.
In this step of the process it is fundamental that selective collection programs are implemented, because it separates the organic waste from the recyclable waste.
In this step all impurities are separated from the material that will be recycled.
The aluminum waste is chopped up and reduced to be melted.
After being cleaned and chopped, the residue is melted at 700ºC. In this smelting process the aluminum is melted and the product generated is liquid aluminum.
The liquid aluminum is transformed into ingots or aluminum plates. These products are sold to industries that manufacture aluminum products and packaging. Thus, the material returns to the productive chain.
It is also worth mentioning that the aluminum recycling process is much cheaper and consumes less energy than the primary production of this metal (using bauxite mining, which is the raw material).
Benefits of Aluminum Recycling
Recycling aluminum has the following benefits:
- contribution to decrease soil, water and air pollution, protecting the environment;
- improves the city’s cleanliness and the population’s quality of life;
- extension of the useful life of sanitary landfills, since less waste will be disposed of;
- improves the production of organic compounds;
- generation of jobs and income for the unskilled population with the commercialization of recyclables;
- stimulation of competition, since products generated from recycled materials are marketed in parallel to those produced from virgin raw materials;
- contribution to the valorization of public cleaning and to form an ecological conscience.
Waste market: how to generate income?
The waste market for aluminum recycling is broad. It is possible to obtain recycled aluminum from window frames, automotive components, household appliances, and beverage cans, among others.
By not damaging the metal structure, aluminum recycling allows the recycled aluminum to be reused in the production of any product with the same quality level as the aluminum produced by mining.
The characteristics of the recycled product have allowed its use in the packaging industries, thus promoting the production of laminates and aluminum foil. They are also employed in other large consumer markets, such as the manufacturing of pharmaceutical, hygiene and cleaning, beverage, and food packaging.
They can also have other uses, such as in the chemical industry, ferro-alloys, mining, explosives, refractories, pigments, solid fuels for rockets, resins, exothermic welds, gas cylinders, antacid medicines, abrasives, automobile plates, among many others.
Check out their page to learn more about the benefits of recycling aluminum.