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How Aluminium is Recycled

The UK’s aluminium recycling rate has risen to 56%, its highest ever level, with an average annual increase of 4% year-on-year. With nearly 100 years of recycling the material behind us, an impressive 75% of the metal ever made is still in use to this day. But how is this done?

Step 1: COLLECTION

Aluminium is collected along with other metals from recycling bins, banks and organisations.  Used beverage cans are the most recognised recyclable aluminium material but many aluminium products, from car parts to window frames and even electronics, can be recycled at the end of the product’s life.

This isn’t all from curb collection either, business recycling rates also surpassed targets last year, reaching 63%, compared to 60% in 2018.

Step 2: SORTING

The collected recycling is taken to a special processing plant where it is sorted using magnets, with the remaining aluminium items compressed into bales. Aluminium waste is then cut and shredded into tiny pieces.

Reducing the metal’s volume facilitates the removal of additional coatings (prior to chemical cleaning) and helps it to melt quicker in the reprocessing stage.

Step 3: REPROCESSING

The scrap metal is heated up to 750°C to produce molten aluminium which is then treated to make new raw materials.

Depending on the final converted product, the molten aluminium may be cast into ingots or rods, formed into large slabs for rolling, or atomized into powder for further processing.

Step 4: CONVERTING

The recycled aluminium is now used in the production of new products.

Alutech have one of the largest facilities in the world for the production of extended aluminium profiles – expanding through the complete manufacturing cycle. From melting primary aluminium, transferring to aluminium dies, painting or anodizing to the required finish.

Step 5: CONSUMPTION

In as little as 6 weeks from its previous use, the recycled aluminium products are back in shops ready to be consumed once again.

Recycling scrap aluminium requires only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminium from the raw ore and produces 95% less greenhouse gas emission. Aluminium can be reprocessed indefinitely without any loss in quality to the material, making it the perfect recyclable material.

With its superior strength, durability and flexibility there’s no reason not to use aluminium for your fabrication needs. For more information on what Alutech systems can do for you email sales@alutechsystems.co.uk or call one of our friendly sales representatives on 01924 350110.

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