What is the most recycled packaging item in the world today? If you answered “the aluminium can,” you are correct. The ubiquitous soda can is not the only aluminium-made material that is melted down and processed for reuse. Automotive components, food trays, and frames are some of the items that make their way to recycling facilities in New Zealand.
Choose to recycle
Recycled aluminium can be used as raw material for any product requiring the exact properties of newly mined aluminium. The non-ferrous metal has the amazing property to be repeatedly recycled without losing its admirable qualities.
While billions of dollars worth of aluminium is thrown away and not reused, the drink can, which can be found even in the most remote village, is often brought to scrap metal recyclers and rightfully so. If you decide to throw away a material made from aluminium instead of placing it in the recycle bin, the object will stay as is for five centuries before it starts changing by oxidation. Why throw something away that keeps its amazing properties intact for 500 years? If all aluminium items are recycled, there probably will not be a landfill crisis in the world today.
Significant energy savings
If you are watching a show on the telly for three hours, the energy the appliance used for that time is equivalent to the energy saved by recycling one aluminium drink can. A tonne of aluminium that is recycled removes carbon dioxide in the air—an amount similar to the emissions of a car being driven for 44,000 kilometres. While recycling uses up energy and emits greenhouse gases, the amount less significant than the energy savings incurred in recycling the metal. This is in comparison with energy requirements for processing aluminium from virgin ore.
Socioeconomic and environmental benefits arise from aluminium recycling. In a world with depleting resources, we must think about the simple, everyday activities we can engage in to ensure a future where the next generation can thrive.