Aluminium is one of the most abundant metals on Earth, which also makes it one of the most used. It is also highly recyclable and can be used many times. The metal, derived from bauxite ore, can be recycled in a closed loop process, i.e., it does not require the addition of new components while being recycled, and does not degrade while recycling. Due to this versatility, most of the aluminum, which has ever been produced, has continued to be in use even today. Many home products are made of aluminum, and you can recycle them yourself or send them to be recycled. Here are some tips you can use to recycle your aluminum products:
Why you should recycle aluminum
There are some very good reasons why you should recycle aluminum. Recycling this much-used metal prevents or reduces the need for further mining of bauxite, thus helping to conserve it. This is very helpful as 1 ton of aluminum is produced from 4 tons of ore. When you recycle aluminum cans, you also help to save energy, as it costs 95% lesser energy to recycle than to create new aluminum cans. This means that the energy required to manufacture one new can can be used to produce 20 cans out of recycled aluminum. The energy savings made while recycling one can can also be measured in terms of electricity – it can run a light bulb of 100 watts for about 4 hours, or a TV for about 3 hours.
How can you recycle aluminium?
Keep a designated bin for recycling
To remind you that you have to recycle aluminum, you can keep a small separate bin for it in the kitchen. You can use any regular garbage bin, plastic container or a paper or cloth bag. You can put used foil or soda cans in this recycling bin, and ensure that your family also knows about it, so that they can put their soda cans etc too, in it.
Many takeaways wrap/put their food in aluminum foil containers, which can be recycled after washing. Always remember to wash everything before you put in the recycling bin. To make it easier to remember what things can be recycled, make a list and tape it to the bin, or the fridge so that everyone can see the list.
Find out where you can send the things to be recycled
There are recycling centres where you can take your recyclables. These centres have separate bins for paper, glass, and aluminum. Every town and city has a recycling centre these days, and you can find out from friends/ acquaintances where it is located, or go online to search for a centre near you. In many cases, the recycling centres are run by the government’s Waste department.
Get money by recycling home aluminum products
Many recycling centres will pay for the aluminum products that you bring them, either on-site or to their machines which might be located in and around your community. This is due to the fact that aluminum is complete i.e. 100% recyclable, which does not need any new additions during the recycling process.
Many people have made money by collecting and giving their soda cans to be recycled, as every aluminum can be recycled. 20 cans can fetch you about a dollar in the States, and instead of throwing away used cans, start collecting them for the benefit of the environment. In the USA, an excess of 800,000, 000 dollars is paid out each year for aluminum cans, which are brought at recycling centres.
Start a curbside community recycling program
Many cities and towns provide a curbside recycling facility. All you have to do is put your recyclables, including aluminum, out on the curb, in a blue bin, along with the trash bin. They will be collected every day, just as trash is collected on a daily basis.
If your community does not have this recycling facility, you can take the initiative to raise awareness about it by distributing leaflets or by spreading the message by word of mouth. Collect signatures and take them to the right government official to get curbside recycling started in your community. You can get signatures online too, instead of going from home to home.