Is Aluminium Environmentally Friendly?
Many people presume that all metals must not be environmentally friendly, as they are often associated with big machinery and a negative impact on the planet. However, the truth is that many metals are actually naturally occurring and extremely recyclable. Aluminium is known as green metal, but is it truly so eco-friendly? Let’s find out.
How Recyclable Is Aluminium? Is Aluminium Sustainable?
Aluminium is the second most-used metal in the world, right behind steel. It is versatile, lightweight, yet durable, making it an easy and relatively cheap product to work with.
Aluminium takes between 200 and 500 years to fully break down in a landfill site. However, you will be happy to know that aluminium is also 100% recyclable. It can be recycled infinitely to produce the same product. Not only that, but it is also the most recyclable industrial material.
Recycling this metal saves up to 95% of the energy used in its production from raw materials, which is a very high result. Aluminium’s properties mean that it can often be used to replace more environmentally harmful materials. You should be pleased to know that 75% of the 1 billion tons of aluminium produced in the last 100 years is still in use today.
Aluminium in Construction
Even, up to 85% of materials used in construction are made from aluminium, especially where strength and durability are needed at the same time. It is also used in around 74% of residential buildings, so all kinds of properties benefit from using this environmentally friendly material. Aluminium’s high strength-to-weight ratio makes it especially useful as a structural material, weighing up to 65% less than steel.
In construction, aluminium is often used in place of timber during the development of residential properties, reducing deforestation in the process. It requires less maintenance compared to timber. Aluminium is typically more versatile than timber and can be used for more complicated construction designs at larger sizes.
Working with aluminium allows architects to be more flexible when it comes to their designs, their structures could be easily recycled in future should they need to be. Aluminium is also a great material to use for window frames, as it improves thermal efficiency, which helps to make buildings more eco-friendly.
Other Benefits of Aluminium
Here are some aluminium facts that you might find interesting:
- One tonne of recycled aluminium saves around 9 tonnes of carbon emissions (which is the equivalent of driving 25 200 miles), as well as 4 tonnes of the raw material aluminium is made from.
- Aluminium can be recycled infinitely to create the exact same product. It is also highly corrosion-resistant, reducing installation revisits and material wastage.
- The aluminium industry is constantly working to reduce its carbon impact, which is yet another benefit of using aluminium instead of other metals.
- Recycling aluminium saves up to 97% of greenhouse gases used in the primary production process of the metal.
- Collecting aluminium cans and then recycling them at scrap metal Slough, for example, is highly beneficial for the environment. One recycled can saves so much energy to make a TV run for around 3 hours.
- A tonne of aluminium that has been recycled saves 1663 gallons (ca. 7,560 l) of oil, 10 cubic yards (ca. 8 m³) of landfill space and 14 000 kWh of electricity.
- Thanks to unmatched corrosion resistance and durability, aluminium is widely used to build renewable energy products like solar panels and wind turbines, yet another reason why aluminium contributes to the sustainability movement.
Now you know that aluminium supports a more circular and sustainable economy, as it is extremely recyclable as well as strong and durable. It is perhaps the most environmentally friendly metal in existence today, so if you care about protecting the planet, aluminium is by far the greatest choice you can make when building a new property or when buying a soft drink.