• 21 April 2024

Scientists estimate that an aluminum can will decompose and poison the soil for at least 500 years. Fortunately, we have made great strides in recycling polluting materials. Today, aluminum is successfully recycled, and it is possible to make a new one from an old used aluminum can.

What is aluminum waste?

Aluminum waste is any item consisting of aluminum alloy that has been used up and become unnecessary. The most common are:

- Cans.

- Wire, window joinery parts, scraps of metal structures.

- Car parts, carburetors and some parts of electrical equipment.

- Foil.

- Aluminum waste

Why recycle aluminum waste?

Recycling aluminum is very important, because products made of this metal take a long time to decompose. At the same time, the products of decomposition: metal nitrites are very harmful to humans, plants and animals. Decomposition takes place over 500 years, and throughout this time aluminum actively poisons the soil.

Re-melting aluminum is economically viable. It takes more time and energy to produce a new product from this raw material than to produce a can from recycled aluminum. Even more so, producing cans from recycled materials does not harm the environment, as no toxic gases are released during aluminum processing. You also don't have to waste time and effort mining aluminum ore.

Recycling aluminum saves huge amounts of energy. The entire process takes 60 days, after which the new product can reappear on store shelves. The metal, like many others, can be returned to collection points.

Processing: technologies and methods

Aluminumrecycling in Poland has its own distinctive features. Aluminum is found not only in foil, packaging and tablet plates, but also in industrial chips, car parts, window frames, radio components, etc. The processing of scrap small and large is carried out in various ways.

- Aluminum components are sorted, cleared of municipal waste, then shredded and cleaned of ferrous contaminants using an electromagnet. The resulting material is pressed and formed into briquettes of equal weight and sent for remelting. However, this method has disadvantages. Melting aluminum in this form causes the raw materials to contain a large amount of impurities due to imperfect cleaning methods.

- The second method is analogous, the only difference being the use of multi-stage purification schemes. After processing, aluminum powder or small flakes of metal remain. Despite the fact that this method cleans impurities perfectly, it has a significant drawback: it requires a large surface area and higher energy consumption, which raises the final price of the product.

The most cost-effective processing method is the one based on pyrolysis, although it requires appropriate equipment.

Recycling step by step

Aluminum recycling in Poland is used on a large scale. Aluminum profile is processed as follows:

- Sorting. Metals are sorted by color, weight and chemical composition.

- Grinding. The sorted profile is cleaned of impurities, after which it is cut into small pieces and sent to a crusher.

- Drying. The secondary raw materials are dried to give them a certain percentage of moisture. This allows for a higher quality of metal. There are three drying methods: drum, chamber and induction.

- Melting. After drying, raw materials are melted in special furnaces at temperatures of more than 7,000 degrees.

- The melted aluminum is poured into special molds and sent to factories to produce aluminum products.

All aluminum waste is remelted into various products, such as:

- Soda cans, beer cans.

- Components of cars, bicycles and motorcycles.

- Electronic parts: housings, heat sinks, etc.

- Aluminum ingots

Recycledaluminum can be reused an infinite number of times. This greatly reduces the consumption of resources and also helps protect the environment. If aluminum processing improves and reaches more than 80% in the near future, we will be able to do away with aluminum mining altogether.