Aluminum Recycling | Every Can Counts
Tossing your empty soda can into the trash after lunch may not seem like a big deal to some people, but what if your soda can could directly benefit the environment if you took the time to recycle it?
You may not think that a single aluminum can could have that great of an effect, but what about all the cans of soda that you consume yearly? An average American consumes 380 cans of soda annually, which adds up to over 100 billion cans being used in the United States pear year. Aluminum cans contribute heavily to the over 1.5 million tons of waste that the world accumulates each year.
Besides reducing overall waste, aluminum recycling provides many other environmental benefits. Perhaps the greatest feature of aluminum can recycling is that the amount of times that aluminum can be recycled is virtually endless. Aluminum is a 100% recyclable material, and with an incredibly efficient turnaround, recycled aluminum is often back on the shelf within 60 days of being recycled. Aluminum can recycling is also a very energy efficient process. The steps involved in recycling aluminum consume only 5% of the energy that is needed to produce new aluminum products.
An increase in aluminum recycling would help to decrease the amount of landfill waste that is accumulated each year, reduce the level of greenhouse gases emitted from aluminum smelting, reduce the risk of acid rain, and help keep water sources clean and free from harmful pollution. Recycling alone can divert 1.7 billion pounds of waste from landfills on a yearly basis. Aluminum smelting, past of the process to manufacture new aluminum products, is responsible for 14.1% of greenhouse gases emitted each year. These greenhouse gases, like nitrogen oxide, contribute to acid rain and smog. Aluminum recycling also creates 97% less water pollution than producing new aluminum products.
The overall benefits of aluminum recycling do not stop there. Aluminum recycling also greatly reduces energy consumption. The amount of energy saved from aluminum recycling is realized from the moment that a single can is recycled. By recycling one aluminum can, enough energy is saved to power a television for three hours. For each pound of aluminum cans that are recycled, Americans can save an amount of energy equal to 7.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity. For every ton of aluminum that is recycled, the equivalent of 2,350 gallons of gasoline would be saved. If all Americans participated in aluminum can recycling, they could save nearly $3 billion worth of energy every year.
Aluminum recycling takes a big step in the right direction for the future of Earth. The amount of energy to be saved with aluminum recycling is amazing. By taking a few extra seconds to throw aluminum cans into a recycle bin, you are helping the environment in multiple ways and helping our country save energy resources. Aluminum can recycling is just one type of recycling that can make a big difference.