Scrap and Secondary Aluminum
More manufacturers are choosing aluminum over other metals. Aluminum is durable, flexible and conductive. It produces natural oxides, creating a thin layer of corrosion resistance. Aluminum products can be 100% recycled while maintaining all of the metal's inherent properties.
In developed countries, supplies of secondary and scrap aluminum are high, contributing to a large recycling market. The energy cost to recycle aluminum is typically over 90% more affordable than producing aluminum from raw materials.
The Aluminum Recycling Industry
Producers across the aluminum industry pay over $800 million per year for recycled material. Due to its value, almost three-quarters of all the aluminum ever produced remains in circulation today.
The recycling industry creates and sustains more than 160,000 jobs, with an estimated 5,000 jobs supported by recycling efforts. Recycling contributes over $70 billion per year in economic output for the United States.
The Aluminum Recycling Process
Scrap and secondary aluminum are shredded and sorted to remove glass, metal and other debris. Scrap aluminum is liquified at temperatures over 1200°F, poured into molds and formed into aluminum ingots. The same oxides that produce resistance to corrosion appear after contact with the environment. These oxides, known as dross, are removed with a skimming tool. Dross is refined to extract any valuable materials.
Aluminum is the popular packaging choice for beverage makers and food packaging companies for many reasons, especially printability. Temperatures during the recycling process reach high enough to evaporate commercial paints and lacquers, separating them from the mixture. Aluminum ingots are ready for distribution and reuse.
Benefits of Aluminum Recycling
Recycling aluminum saves money and energy compared to producing aluminum from raw materials. Beyond the savings in production costs, recycling is much more energy-efficient than mining operations. As more companies and consumers focus on sustainability, recycled aluminum will emerge even further as the leading metal for manufacturing.
Aluminum can be cast, formed and melted without ever losing its properties. The metal remains strong, workable and durable. Regarding its properties, recycled aluminum is identical to a new aluminum product.
The market outlook for the aluminum scrap metal market is positive, as more companies move toward manufacturing with aluminum. The tech, construction and consumer goods markets consistently find new applications for aluminum.
Demand is increasing and there is a large stockpile of scrap and secondary aluminum wasted each year. In 2015, estimates by the EPA place the quantity of aluminum consigned to landfills at over 2.4 million tons — almost 2% of all annual landfill volume.
Aluminum Recycling Consulting for Metal Scrap Companies
The recycling industry contributes over $170 billion to the total national GDP. More enterprises are incorporating aluminum into their products, packaging and production, driving higher demand for recycled scrap and secondary aluminum. Stay informed with consulting services from the Aluminum Authority.
HARBOR's metal scrap consulting services include:
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