Recycling Aluminum Wastes

Aluminum recycling is profitable because extracting this metal from aluminum ore is expensive, pollutes the environment, and consumes significant energy.

FREMONT, CA: The key advantage of recycling is that it decreases the amount of waste that desires to be buried or burned. For aluminum, there is also another benefit. For example, if old soda cans were just buried, new cans would have to be made from new aluminum that would have to come from aluminum ore. Therefore, recycling aluminum has an economic benefit as well as an environmental one.

Not all materials are financially advantageous to recycle. For example, Plastic is often cheaper to produce from raw materials than it is to recycle. Hence, while Plastic is continuously recyclable, it is often burned or simply buried since it is not cost-efficient to recycle it.

Other limitations also make materials, for example, green glass, less suitable to recycle. It is not that the glass can't be continuously recycled. It is since the color of glass cannot be changed—once it is green, it will be green forever. Many green glasses are introduced into the United States, comprising foreign-made beverages like wine and beer. But few products are made from green glass in the United States, meaning that most of them are not recycled.

Another reason aluminum is simple to recycle is that it does not rust, unlike other metals similar to iron. If left unprotected, iron is changed by the corrosive process of rusting into iron oxide. When that occurs, the metal has to undergo expensive treatment to terminate the oxygen, while aluminum, which does not rust, can simply be melted and molded into a new product.