Lifecycle 1

Explore the lifecycle of aluminium recycling, learn the processes involved and discover just how important you are to the whole system.

Aluminium Recycling - The Recycling Loop

Recycling is part of the natural life cycle of aluminium. Because metal can be simply re-melted - using only around 5% of the energy used in primary production - and can be recycled time and again without loss of quality, aluminium retains a high scrap value, which drives high recycling rates in each end-use sector.

The lifecycle of aluminium packaging starts with metal production, and proceeds through manufacture of the packaging product, to the use of that product to protect goods delivered to the customer. The final part of the loop shows what happens when the packaging is returned for recycling, and the aluminium starts life again.

The aluminium used for packaging is much more difficult to collect, since it is very light, and discarded in every home, school, office, pub and restaurant. This is why it is so important that every one of us realises the significance of the decisions we make about diposing of different items - and that we choose to recycle our aluminium rather than throw it away.

The aluminium industry can recycle as much correctly presented packaging as may be collected: source segregation, collection and correct handling are the main issues in achieving high recycling rates.

Recycling - rather than producing aluminium from bauxite - makes sound economic sense for the industry: capital costs are lower, recycling plants are smaller and more flexible, and the plants can be located closer both to sources of feedstock scraps, and markets for the recycled metal.