Aluminum Can Recycling Benefits

Aluminum has been used for thousands of years. Today, it can be found in a wide array of applications, with one of the most common uses being in canned foods and drinks. Since canned food consumption is so prevalent, it has made recycling metal cans an integral part of minimizing wastes and unnecessarily space in landfills. The best part is that aluminum can be continually recycled indefinitely.

Besides avoiding wasted space in landfills with aluminum cans, recycling aluminum is also an energy saver, which is also an environmental benefit. The energy savings is pretty astounding. It takes just five percent of the energy needed to create aluminum from scratch. That’s because making new aluminum cans requires a lot of electricity to turn aluminum oxide into aluminum.

In addition to the environmental motives for recycling aluminum cans, there is a financial incentive in doing it. Even when you take into account the cost of collecting, separating, and recycling aluminum cans, it is much more cost effective than producing new aluminum cans.

History of Aluminum Can Recycling

Believe it or not, aluminum can recycling is not a particularly new process. Recycling aluminum has been around since the early 20th century. In 1904, the first aluminum recycling plants opened in Chicago and New York. Recycling played a significant role in supporting Allied forces in World War II. Today, it plays a major role in our aluminum production. According to 2008 statistics, about 31 percent of all aluminum that is made in the United States comes from recycled scrap metal.

How Aluminum is Recycled

Here is an abbreviated version of how aluminum is recycled once it gets to the recycling facility:

First, a processing facility sorts the aluminum from other materials. The process uses eddy current, an electrical current that helps separate aluminum from the other materials. The aluminum is then cut into small equal pieces to minimize volume which makes it easier on the machines that separate them. Next the pieces are cleaned and put in large blocks to minimize oxidation. The blocks of aluminum are loaded into a furnace and heated to about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit to produce a molten composition. Dross, the solid impurities that are found floating on the molten metal, is then removed from the metal. Samples are taken and then analyzed.

The Future of Aluminum Recycling

The future appears to be bright for aluminum recycling. According to industry estimates, recycling rates are expected to grow by 75 percent over the next 10 years. The growth in recycling has gone from 13.7 million tonnes in 2003 (the metric equivalent of about 30.2 billion pounds) to about 19.4 million tonnes in 2009 (about 42.7 billion pounds).

Prevent Aluminum Toxicity

Minerals if present in excess or in varying but dangerous proportions in our diet could cause serious health hazards. The most prevalent of metal toxicity found now days is aluminum toxicity. Aluminum toxicity could lead to health hazards such as speech problems, memory loss, headaches, anemia, kidney dysfunction, liver problems, extreme nervousness, gastrointestinal problems, softening of bones, colic problems, and problems related to normal metabolic activities of the body etc. Aluminum toxicity is observed to cause disorders resembling Alzheimer’s disease at times.

The ease with which aluminum gets absorbed into our blood stream is extremely quick and swift. As aluminum does not get excreted through urine it remains within the body for some time. If this aluminum content within the body and blood stream exceeds the ability of the body to wipe it out this excess of aluminum could get deposited within the organs including the heart.

The content of aluminum in muscles, brain, spleen, bones and liver and other essential and vital body organs could seriously hamper the normal mental poise of any individual. The mental composure of a person is easily degraded due to such stagnation of high aluminum content within the body. Aluminum toxicity is a subject of grave concern to be addressed by both the medical professionals as well as the common man who in the end consumes these items of aluminum toxicity. Aluminum toxicity could also lead to seizures sometimes.

It is obviously true that we need minerals and metal to a certain degree in our body for its proper functioning. But when their contents reach or cross this safe level then the person has to become conscious of the excess content and should take steps necessary to bring them down by flushing them out. Also their further consumption should be completely checked. Aluminum toxicity when accompanied with deficiencies of other essential minerals like calcium could actually worsen the condition.

Studies have concluded that on an average a person consumes about three to ten milligrams of aluminum on a daily basis. This is essentially an indicator of the abundance of aluminum on the surface of earth. This abundance is the reason why aluminum easily finds its way into our human body through naturally occurring raw vegetables and crops. This aluminum is enough to get deposited later in our bodies to cause health issues and hazards. Aluminum traces are also traced in the natural environment as deposits like air, water and soil. With such an abundance of aluminum around us good precautionary steps should be taken to make sure that we are not taking in surplus contents of the mineral into our blood stream.

A most popular means through which aluminum enters our blood stream is through the cooking utensils. Aluminum toxicity mainly occurs when food gets cooked in or served from aluminum containers. There are a number of measures advisable so that the intake of aluminum is reduced to safe levels. Getting rid of aluminum containers and consuming more of fiber rich vegetables and food items are the two basic and easy steps that could be easily followed. As is always said prevention is better than cure ensure that the food you consume doesn’t lead to aluminum toxicity.

Quickly Make Your Life Easier By Recognizing The Many Uses Of Aluminum

If you asked 100 consumers what aluminum products they use, about, 95% will say aluminum foil. Of all the uses for aluminum. Aluminum foil is identified as the number one product that consumers can identify as something made of aluminum. Everyone uses those thin shiny paper sheets to line their ovens and barbecue grills. Aluminum foil is the product of choice to wrap up leftovers. Aluminum cans were the second most identified consumer product as having an aluminum composition.

But there are other uses for aluminum that impact our life and our pocketbooks. These product make our lives easier and more productive and help reduce the costs for goods and services. Some typical applications for aluminum include siding for residential homes and commercial buildings. Aluminum is widely used in the transportation industry for cars, airplanes and railroad cars.

Herein lies a potential problem for consumers. Aluminum because of its characteristics of strength, being light weight and malleable reduces the weight of cars. The Aluminum Association reports that In 2000, transportation accounted for 32.5 percent of all US shipments. That same year aluminum passed
plastic–with average content of 257 lbs per vehicle to become the third most-used material in automobiles.

Car manufacturers have a goal of designing light weight, fuel efficient cars. Aluminum seems to fit this requirement. Aluminum is not only being used for door panels but manufacturers are extending
The use of aluminum to the structural make up of the car’s power train suspension components and body parts.

The Wall Street Journal reported July 22, 2004. These lighter metals like boron, steel and aluminum
are increasingly showing up as structural components, but unlike steel, they cannot easily be bent back
into shape after a crash. Instead, said the Journal, these components often get replaced, boosting repair costs. High end cars like the Jaguar XJ use aluminum in the body. Other cars that are use aluminum extensively include:

* Audi A8, with its aluminum body, aluminum front and rear axle, and numerous other aluminum components

*The Honda Insight with its aluminum monocoque body and an aluminum alloy in-line 3 cylinder engine

*The Lincoln LS, featuring a sheet aluminum hood, deck lid and front fender, and forged aluminum wheels.

Automakers are increasingly choosing aluminum to improve fuel economy, reduce emissions and enhance vehicle performance. The trade off for this advanced technology will be a “disposable cars” Pete, a mechanic in San Jose, CA states “The parts and materials for these “aluminum intensive cars are so expensive that is makes more sense to total them out for parts. The technology for replacing
the parts hasn’t caught up. These cars are almost impossible to repair because of the way they are
built. A minor accident can cause real damage.”

These aluminum intensive cars will also have an impact on car insurance rates. More often than not when these cars are involved in an accident, the insurance company will have to consider them totaled so your insurance bill will increase.

So what is the trade-off – fuel efficiency versus high cost of repair and maintenance.? Do we need ugly heavy cars that increase gas consumption? The non-disposable car may look bland, be slower and use gas But the real truth is this car would not sell.