Aluminum Recycling in Chicago

Aluminum Recycling: Processes & Benefits

Aluminum is a popular material commonly found in products like cans, frames, kitchen utensils, electronics, construction materials, and industrial appliances.

Since aluminum is such a common material used by nearly everyone, it is often a great choice for recycling as well.

Recycling can be a way to preserve the environment, reuse resources, and responsibly remove unwanted clutter and trash from your home or business. Recycling aluminum produces new, reusable metal and limits waste.

Knowing the best way to recycle and understanding what aluminum can be recycled is a great starting point for those new to the recycling process.

The Aluminum recycling Process

Aluminum is incredibly versatile when used in and for the creation of various products. This is due to its lighter weight, increased flexibility, and strength. Aluminum also has high thermal conductivity and resists corrosion.

Even when recycled, aluminum can be effective. The process for recycling aluminum produces 1382 nearly the same amount of reusable aluminum with no quality loss.

The first step is to sort the materials that have been gathered for recycling to remove waste or other recyclable materials.

Next, the material is shredded within a reprocessing plant. This breaks the material into smaller pieces, reducing its overall volume.

The metal’s surface is scrubbed clean using both a mechanical and chemical process to prepare for the melting process.

Aluminum is melted in bales in high temperatures furnaces. The temperatures must reach above 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit (750 degrees Celsius). Heating the metal purifies it from waste products which can then be removed through machines or chlorine and nitrogen gas.

Adding metals such as copper, silicon, or magnesium are used to produce aluminum alloys.

The molten metal is poured out to form ingots and transported to either manufacturing plants or aluminum processing locations to create new products.

What aluminum can be recycled?

There are many types of aluminum that can be recycled. It is always best to check with your recycling facility to verify if they take the type of aluminum and other recycling materials you are hoping to drop off.

Aluminum cans are one of the most well-known recycling materials. A high percentage of cans are recycled, with at least 60 percent being recycled of the overall sold. Most of these cans are made from recycled materials.

Frames for windows and other products, cleaned aluminum foil, chairs, and even some car parts can be used.

Manufacturing and other aluminum fabrications are great options as well. These scraps of metal can be recycled. This can range from larger pieces of aluminum to shavings and clippings.

Other products include aluminum rims found in vehicles and aluminum gutters and siding from homes, businesses, and construction.

Sheet aluminum is commonly found in lawn chairs, window frames, attachments, and even specific cables.

Cast aluminum can be recycled as well which is found in grills or the bases of light poles.

These products’ magnetic abilities are tested to see how much aluminum is found in the scraps, valuing its worth for recycling.

How to recycle aluminum cans

Cans are one of the most popular uses for aluminum, with over 200 billion cans sold each year. The high production of any material can result in high waste. However, aluminum cans are easy to recycle to be reused.

Aluminum cans are also the most popular recycled products as they can be recycled and re-manufactured as new cans over five times. The energy needed to recycle an aluminum can is also less than the energy needed for creating a can from scratch.

Only 5 percent of energy is used when recycling compared to 95 percent used when creating a product from scratch.

This means one aluminum can made from scratch is nearly equal to the energy needed to produce 20 cans from recycled materials.

The process also emits fewer greenhouse gases.

Should aluminum cans be crushed before recycling?

While crushing a can seems to save space and make the recycling process easier, it’s not true.

The best practice is to not crush your cans unless the drop-off location for your recycling uses multi-stream or dual-stream methods which can separate all recyclable materials from others.

If a location uses other methods, or if you are unsure, it is best to simply leave your cans uncrushed.

Due to their shrunken size, crushed cans can fall off sorting equipment or through small spaces. This can lead to improper sorting of the materials, or the materials being completed misplaced and wasted.

If a can is missorted and placed in the area of different recycling material, the aluminum can contaminate the reusable materials.

Keeping your cans and other recycling materials, intact is the best way to recycle.

All American Recycling’s Aluminum Recycling Solution

All American Recycling specializes in recycling aluminum along with copper, steel, and lead. We offer the availability of drop-off, pick-up, and demolition services in the Chicago area for small or large collections of scrap materials.

Our aluminum recycling includes extruded, cans, rims, and siding with both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.