86 per cent of drink cans sold in the UK are made from aluminium — that’s nearly 8 billion cans every year! And each one could be recycled over and over again, saving energy, raw materials and waste.
Aluminium doesn't occur naturally in the earth's crust, it has to be extracted from its ore, bauxite, which is mined and then 'smelted' in a very energy-intensive process.
The aluminium recycling process, which involves simply re-melting the metal, means the mining and smelting process can be avoided. Recycling has many benefits over raw material extraction — it:
- Uses only 5% of the energy needed in the smelting process.
- Reduces litter.
- Eases pressure on waste disposal systems, especially landfill.
- Saves greenhouse gases: using one tonne of recycled aluminium saves 9 tonnes of carbon emissions
What’s more, aluminium can be recycled again, and again, and again. As one of the few “infinitely recyclable” materials in the world, aluminium can be recycled with no loss of quality whatsoever. In fact, over three quarters of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today.