Aluminium encyclopaedia

Collection systems

In industry, fabrication scrap and old scrap (such as aluminium windows from a demolished building) are collected in a systematic manner and recycled, either directly or via metal dealers. Households use many aluminium products, for example kitchen foil, packaging and household and sports equipment. Sooner or later, all of these products reach the end of their useful life and can be recycled. The energy required for remelting is up to 95 per cent less than that needed for the extraction of primary aluminium - collection and recycling thus also make a useful contribution to energy saving.

The aluminium industry supports the collection and recycling of used aluminium products and has created a recycling logo that makes it easier for users to recognise aluminium.

Aluminium can be recognised by the recycling logo and/or use of a magnet (aluminium is not magnetic).

Germany and some other countries have introduced a so-called dual system of waste collection (the packaging carries a green dot), which requires households to sort their packaging waste. Thanks to the use of advanced sorting technologies, the aluminium fraction in the waste is then separated from the remainder in modern sorting centres and recycled. Some aluminium packaging is covered by a returnable deposit so that this packaging is returned to the retailer and then recycled, too. Depending on the setup of the national recycling system, composite materials containing aluminium are either recycled to recover the metal or processed to recover the energy.