Aluminium

Aluminium is light, versatile, durable and quite malleable. This metal has exceptional characteristics that make it particularly suited not only for the production of cans but also for car parts and for use in buildings. Recycling aluminium is very important because its production is a particularly costly one from the point of view of material and energy, in fact aluminium is obtained from bauxite which is a sedimentary rock, and 4t of bauxite and 14 MWh of electricity are required in order to obtain only one ton of aluminium.
What happens to our cans after they have been thrown in the separate waste collection bag together with plastic or glass? Collection of aluminium is generally carried out as a multi-material collection, i.e. together with other types of materials such as plastic, because of the costs involved. The first step towards recovery is the separation of the cans from other packaging materials, after which the aluminium is crushed and separated from any iron residues. After which the cans are treated at 500°C in order to remove any paint or adhesive substances. Finally they are melted at 800°C and new materials are produced. Among the advantages of recycling aluminium, there is the absence of a decline in the quality of the material during the process. As a consequence of this characteristic, this material can be recycled an infinite number of times, with remarkable energy savings (electric energy saving equal to approximately 95%), as the production process of bauxite and the material is particularly energy demanding. Also energy recovery is possible. Aluminium powder and sheets, in fact, can be assimilated with fuels and, when heated up to 850°C, 1 kg of aluminium releases 31 MJ of energy, the same energy released by 1 kg of coal. Saving of energy and resources is very high: 95% energy is saved and 100% of material. According to CiAl estimates, in 2015 the recovery of aluminum packaging was 75.5% and the avoided CO2 emissions of 345 thousand tonnes.

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