The National Energy Education Development Project estimates that Americans use 200 million beverage cans made of aluminum and 100 million beverages cans made from steel every single day. Metal recycling is essential to the economy. Without it, we could end up with a surplus of metal. It seems that the choices are simple. The metals can be disposed of in landfills, burned at waste to energy plants or recycled. The recycling option is the most effective way to reduce waste aluminum and metal. Check this out!
Aluminum and steel recycling
Aluminum, unlike copper, iron, and other common metals only occurs in conjunction with other elements. In a reduction facility or smelter aluminum can be combined to create alumina, a material that is extremely hard. In large pots, it is dissolved into a salty liquid (or made molten). As the aluminum molten in the pot sinks, a strong current runs through it to separate the oxygen from the aluminum. This whole process requires a lot of electricity.
It takes less energy to produce aluminum by recycling aluminum scrap. The National Energy Education Development Project claims that recycling four aluminum cans will save as much energy as one cup of gas. The high scrap value of aluminum is a result of this decrease in energy. Recycled aluminum is a cost-effective way for manufacturers to save money and energy.
Aluminum recycling begins when consumers take their cans to a grocery store or scrap metal company. It then goes to a recycling facility. Aluminum is shred and then melted into ingots or molten metal. Ingots of aluminum are then fashioned into other shapes or forms. After that, aluminum becomes new cans.
In the United States, steel is the most commonly recycled material. The recycling industry is dominated by steel scrap from appliances, cars and demolished buildings and bridges. As recycled steel requires 60 percent less energy than iron ore to produce, most steel products on the market today contain some recycled material.
It is very similar to the process for recycling aluminum cans. After steel scrap has been collected by recycling centers, waste-to energy plants, and homes, it’s shipped to scrap dealers or processors.
The scrap steel is heated in an oven and then placed into a caster that flattens and rolls it continuously into sheets. The recycled steel can be used to make a wide variety of items, including new cars, buildings girders or food containers. The U.S. steel cans contain at least 25 per cent recycled steel. Other steel products also include recycled steel.