Aluminum or aluminium is a kind of metal that can be found anywhere in this modern era. It can be found in soda can, it can be found in airplane’s body, it can be found in kitchen tools, and of course the infamous aluminium foil used to cover your leftover.
Looking on the use of aluminum, which covers a lot of things, we must know that we also produce a lot of aluminum waste. However, have you ever heard about aluminium recycling campaign? All the things we hear nowadays seem like only talking about plastic recycling.
Well, it is kind of strange because aluminum and recycling are two inseparable things. Almost anything made of aluminum can be recycled, and recycling aluminium is far more profitable than recycling plastic. But why don’t we hear about it so often? What makes aluminum recycling is far more profitable than plastic?
Here in this article, we are going to talk about it.
Recycling Love Story
One of the best knowledges that human ever discovered is how to recycle things. It has so many benefits, starting from keeping the number of resources on earth, keeping our earth clean, preventing waste of energy, and so many more.
In first world countries, even recycling has become a habit, or maybe a daily chore. It has become a lifestyle that almost everyone is doing, whether they do it intentionally or subconsciously because everyone in their surrounding is doing it.
Talking about recycling, we all know that there is one material that will always come to our minds: plastic. The two things, recycling and plastic, are like best friends in every single conversation about either of them.
When one topic emerges, the other topic will also emerge. This is thanks to increasing awareness in society about the danger of plastic and its recycling potentials that can bring the used material into a whole new level.
Plastic and recycling are like classic love story of Romeo and Juliet. But have you heard about recycling’s new love story with aluminium? Yes, aluminium is recycling’s new love because unlike plastic it will last forever, or we’d say an eternal love story.
Recycled aluminium can be found anywhere nowadays, starting from your electronic devices, your cola cans, even you kids’ toys. But the thing with aluminium recycling is, not so many of us realize about the presence of recycled aluminium.
In this case, our awareness toward recycling the material is not as good as our awareness to recycle plastic. Let us ask you, when did the last time you recycle your aluminium waste? How about the last time you recycle your plastic waste?
It makes things complicated because one thing that aluminium excels over plastic is how it can be recycled forever. As we mentioned above that recycling and aluminium have eternal love story, their relationship indeed can last forever.
History has proven that aluminium recycling is not a new thing, because it has been practiced since early 1900s. But data also proved that its popularity only peaked after 1960s when aluminium beverage cans were extensively produced.
And again, it went past its peak when plastic recycling gained its popularity with the increase of environmental awareness toward the dangers of plastic waste. Now, it is time to re-spark the flame that once burning hot.
Aluminum Recycling Problem
The reason why aluminum recycling is able to be done infinitely is because of its natural property. Aluminum, even though is a ‘soft’ metal, will not lose its quality while being processed and being recycled. Usually by re-melting it and make it into something new.
Well, probably, that’s easier to say than to practice. The fact is, aluminum recycling’s popularity is the biggest problem. Then why recycle aluminium if the product made from recycled aluminium is not going to be used as anything?
We still want our products to be produced from fresh aluminium, even though it means that it is more energy intensive than recycled aluminum. In addition to that, products made of aluminum are still less popular than products made of plastic. even though basically aluminum can be turned into anything that plastic can be made into.
However, we still consider aluminium-made products are more ‘sophisticated’ than products made of plastic, thus we tend to prefer the cheaper one made of plastic. Changing this one point of view is the thing we need to work on before making recycled aluminum a trend.
As a result, not so many companies are focusing their works on recycling aluminum products. The material’s property which makes it able to be recycled infinitely without reducing its quality is then goes to waste.
There are two things that make aluminum recycling excels over using any other materials. The energy used to produce recycled aluminum is only 5% the energy used to produce fresh aluminum. In addition to that, aluminum in the nature is far less dangerous than plastic waste.
If only the whole world knows the benefits of recycling aluminum, maybe it would become a new trend that might be able to replace plastic use. Luckily, big brands, like Apple and Coca Cola, and celebrities are starting to promote the use of recycled plastic.
“Plastics are killing our planet. And I think I have a solution. There’s only one thing that can really help our planet and save our planet, as long as we recycle, and that’s aluminum,” as Jason Momoa, the Aquaman, stated after partnering with Ball Corporation in producing new line of canned water.
It is just about the trend that we are facing this problem. We need to raise the awareness of recycled aluminum because not only it can solve our plastic consumption problem, but also because it saves much more energy than fresh aluminum.
Let alone its characteristic that makes it can be recycled forever. Imagine if every single plastic waste is replaced by aluminum. We can say goodbye to microplastic and its toxicity that harms the planet, and don’t you know that aluminum ingestion is far safer than microplastic ingestion?