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