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Whether you spell it “aluminum” or “aluminium,” you know that this ductile, non-magnetic metal is the one of the most versatile, plentiful materials on Earth. By mass, aluminum is the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon, and is notable for its low density, high strength-to-weight ratio, and corrosion resistant properties. But did you know that aluminum is also 100% recyclable?
Aluminum recycling is the process of re-melting metal scraps and extracting the aluminum from the rest. Today, about 75% of all aluminum produced in history, nearly a billion tons, is still in use.
When selecting a material to meet your project requirements, part performance is essential. We know that the material capabilities play a big role in the success or failure of a component. Since aluminum can be recycled again and again with no deterioration in its mechanical or physical properties, it can serve the same applications with the same level of performance as primary aluminum extracted directly from bauxite ore—all while having a positive impact on the environment and your bottom line.
Maintain same performance and physical properties with recycled aluminum
In some cases, the word “recycled” implies that you’re compromising strength and performance. For instance, you may be saving the sea turtles with your recycled paper straw, but it’s soggy within 10 minutes of being in your drink. The same cannot be said about using recycled aluminum.
Aluminum is infinitely recyclable and retains its properties indefinitely. While a few select industries—aerospace, for instance—require the exact properties of virgin aluminum, most industries can achieve the exact level of performance, lightweight durability, strength, and corrosion resistance with recycled secondary aluminum. If your component requires a die casting material that maintains high strength and durability at high temperatures, has excellent thermal conductivity, and high dimensional stability with thin walls, recycled aluminum is the material for you.
Read more about thin-wall aluminum die casting.
Saving cost by using recycled aluminum
Extracting aluminum from ore is a highly expensive, inefficient process. The process transforms raw bauxite into pure aluminum using electrolysis, which requires a lot of raw material and energy for very little yield. Producing one kilogram of aluminum requires approximately four kilograms of raw bauxite ore and uses between 190 and 230 megajoules of energy.
Recycling aluminum, on the other hand, uses about 5% of the energy used to produce primary aluminum. In manufacturing, the burden of cost of producing raw materials is transferred onto the customer. Even when the cost of collection, separation, and recycling are taken into account, manufacturing your component with recycled aluminum eliminates up to 95% of raw material and energy cost that would otherwise drive up the piece part price of your component.
Lessen environmental impact with recycled aluminum
The environmental benefits of using recycled aluminum are extensive—including reducing energy use, mining pollution, shipping pollution and emissions, and carbon dioxide emissions. Most of the energy consumption in aluminum die casting is used to heat and remelt the metal during fabrication. For this reason, Dynacast is able to save more time, energy, and money by remelting in-house.
Additionally, major aluminum recyclers have shifted to using greener sources of power to melt aluminum scraps, such as geothermal, nuclear, solar, or hydroelectric power.
Corporate social responsibility
In recent years, there has been mounting pressure from the global community for companies to operate responsibly and minimize their environmental footprint. In response, many manufacturing companies are taking steps to establish initiatives that more positively impact their local communities and the environment. An easy way to achieve this is to manufacture with recycled aluminum alloys.
For instance, industry-leading companies such as Apple use recycled aluminum to achieve their aggressive, sustainable manufacturing goals while maintaining the lightweight performance that has come to be standard for their end-products.
At Dynacast, we send off all industrial scrap metal, including aluminum, that was produced as a by-product of our operations to be recycled and used for future projects. The closed loop cycle prevents waste from going to landfills and reduces the raw material cost for our customers. Our aluminum is good for the environment, and good for our customers.
Take advantage of the benefits of recycled aluminum
Apart from the high performance that the material itself offers, choosing to manufacture your components with recycled aluminum allows you to take advantage of energy savings, cost savings, and more robust corporate social responsibility initiatives.