Aluminumiwanttoberecycled_gfdshy2018-09-24T21:22:13+00:00
aluminum can

Aluminum

Aluminum is infinitely recyclable. Recycling a can takes just 5% of the energy and emits a mere 5% of the greenhouse gases that making one from scratch does.

Collection

Collected at curbside, school, work, or public space recycling bins, or at local recycling drop-off or buy-back centers.

curbside bin
building
scrap
retail store
aluminum
conveyor belt

Sorting

As material moves along the conveyor belt at the materials recovery facility (MRF), aluminum cans are “pushed away” by a reverse magnet called an eddy current, which “shoots” the aluminum products into a catch-bin.

Processing

Cans come into the recycling process center crushed and in bales or stacks. The crushed cans are shredded into pieces the size of a walnut. The shreds, moving along a conveyor belt, are screened to get any non-aluminum materials out and then passed through hot air to remove any paint or lacquer.

machine
blade
gears

Converting

The aluminum shreds are fed into a furnace where they become molten metal that is poured into a mold. Once cooled, this new brick or ingot of aluminum weighs 36,000 pounds. Guess how many used cans it takes to make a new ingot? 1.5 million!

fire

Manufacturing

The brick or ingot of aluminum is heated just enough so that it can be rolled into a coil. The coil is approximately 9 miles in length. Manufacturers then take this coil to make new cans and lids.

aluminum
factory
aluminum can

I became an aluminum can!

Your can had a full circle adventure!

Help spread the word and share what you’ve learned below!

Pick another material to find out what it wants to be…

Butter Tub

cereal box

Cereal Box

aluminum can

Aluminum Can

steel can

Steel Food Can

glass bottle

Glass Bottle

cartons

Carton