The aluminum recycling industry has set a standard that many other recycling industries can follow. There has been a long-term effort to promote the recycling and reuse of aluminum products, and it has paid off tremendously. No other material has been sent to recycling plants more than aluminum. Approximately 67% of aluminum cans being purchased across the globe are recycled, which makes them the most recycled containers in the world. As a way of comparison, only 9% of plastic bottles are being recycled. This is in spite of the growing popularity of recycling programs and the availability of recycling containers in public areas.
The aluminum recycling process is fast and efficient, which is important because so much of this practical metal needs to be reprocessed and reused. It’s as lightweight as it is flexible, but it’s also very strong if it’s mixed with other metals (such as magnesium and copper). It’s also non-magnetic while having a high level of thermal conductivity, and it’s extremely resistant to corrosion. Aluminum is easy to cast, machine, bend, weld, taper, and alloy. But one of its most valuable properties is that it doesn’t degrade every time it’s reused. In fact, 75% of the aluminum that has been produced since the 1880’s is still being used in some way.
The Process for Aluminum Recycling
The process for aluminum recycling is incredibly efficient. Only 5% of the energy invested in manufacturing a fresh supply of aluminum is required to recycle the same amount. And because it can be used as many times as it’s needed, it doesn’t lose its quality when the recycling process is complete. Here is a brief explanation of each step of the aluminum recycling process:
- Sorting — The aluminum is placed in recycling bins or some other container, where it’s taken to waste stations or recovery facilities so it can be sorted. Magnets can be used to separate metals, which will only leave aluminum because it isn’t magnetic.
- Shredding — Once it’s taken to a reprocessing plant, the aluminum is cut or shredded into smaller pieces so its volume can be reduced.
- Cleaning — The surface of each aluminum piece is cleaned with a combination of mechanical and chemical processes.
- Melting — Bales of scrap aluminum is loaded into high-capacity furnaces that are heated to a temperature that reaches or exceeds 750 degrees Celsius, so they can be melted into a single form.
- Removal of Byproducts — To purify the molten aluminum, a number of waste products that are created during the melting process are removed (either through a mechanical process or through the use of chlorine and nitrogen gas).
- Creation of Aluminum Alloys — Aluminum alloys can be created by adding other metals (such as copper, zinc, and magnesium) to the molten mixture. These alloys are chosen based on how the reprocessed aluminum plans to be used.
- Compounding — The molten aluminum is poured out and formed into ingots, which can be sent to aluminum processing or manufacturing centers so they can be made into new products.
If you’re looking for one of the best places for aluminum recycling in Corpus Christi, be sure to get in touch with Dawson Recycling and Disposal today!