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8 Interesting Facts about Aluminium Recycling

Aluminium is truly extraordinary. Remaining undiscovered for much of human civilisation, it forms around 8% of the Earth’s crust and is used in numerous industries across the world – thanks to its lightweight, ductile properties that still boast superb corrosion resistance and conductivity. 

It is also very easily recyclable, and the same piece of metal can employ multiple uses and applications across many lifetimes. In this article, we’ll explore some key facts about this material to hopefully encourage you to start recycling yourself. 

aluminium recycling facts

Intriguing facts about aluminium and its recycling process 

  • It took scientists a long time to discover aluminium. Despite being a prominent element in the Earth’s crust, it wasn’t discovered and extracted in its pure form until 1825 by Hans Christian Ørsted, a Danist physicist. The delay to discovery is thought to be due to the fact that aluminium is highly reactive and therefore not often found naturally in its free form, instead existing mainly in ores and compounds. One of its compounds, alum, has been used throughout history for thousands of years for dyeing, tanning and other chemical processes – all the while, aluminium itself was unbeknownst to the users of its compounds. 
  • Because extracting aluminium is so energy intensive (not to mention expensive) this means that recycling is incredibly important to bypass this costly process. Usually, the mining of bauxite ore is required for extraction of aluminium, which produces 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of metal produced. Recycling, however, reduces the frequency of and need for this harmful process – it takes up to an incredible 95% less energy to recycle aluminium than to produce from its raw materials. 
  • The UK produces so much salvaged aluminium that we outstrip out industry needs, allowing us to export to other countries such as China and India. 
  • Did you know? If every single aluminium can in the UK was recycled, our country would require 14 million dustbins – showing just how impactful recycling really is. 
  • The turnaround for aluminium recycling is extremely swift. From disposing of a piece of used aluminium in a recycling bin or plant, to the new product being created, can take less than two months. 
  • Aluminium can be recycled countless times. What’s more, it never loses its practical value or structural integrity and can be used in multiple applications, meaning that over the course of several years it can be anything from a simple drink can to a  car body to a construction material. 
  • According to several sources, recycling a single aluminium can will save enough energy to power a television for up to three hours – highlighting how much reward we can get from the simple act of recycling. This is especially worth bearing in mind, since the vast majority of drinks cans in the UK are made from aluminium. 
  • In 2017, recycling rates for aluminium packaging were 51% and higher in other industries such as construction. While this is promising, we can still improve these statistics, given how easy it is to recycle this metal and just how adaptable aluminium is, in terms of end use.  

Here at Hill Metal Recycling, we pay only the best prices for your metal. With a reliable 24 hour scrap collection across Essex, you can be sure of an efficient recycling service – whether you’re a homeowner or managing a business. We’re committed to helping the environment, striving to recycle all of the metal we collect to transform it into useful materials. To find out more, please contact our friendly team today