The German aluminium recycling industry is one of the frontrunners in Europe, with about 700,000 tonnes a year. In addition, recycling rates are over 90 per cent in some cases and recycling conserves extremely amounts of energy and resources.
Recycling of aluminium on the increase
Recycling is becoming increasingly more important particularly in countries like Germany with few natural resources. However, in addition to the national-economy aspect, the recycling of aluminium offers ecological and economic benefits. It only requires five per cent of the energy used to produce primary aluminium. Furthermore, recycling reduces emissions. Germany is the world leader when it comes to recycling in the packaging sector. This is because all packaging, whether it be aluminium cans or foil, is recycled and new aluminium is obtained from the used products and processed to make new, high-grade products. However, it is too narrow a view to illustrate recycling by only taking optimisation of the energy required into consideration. Recycling conserves resources, eases the demands made on waste disposal sites, reduces emissions. In short, recycling is worthwhile for the environment.
In Germany, more aluminium is now produced via the secondary route than the primary one. This optimises the life-cycle assessment of aluminium products with respect to the consumption of energy and water, waste produced, emissions, consumption of raw materials and disposal. This shows how year for year the material’s almost endless life cycle increasingly benefits man and his environment.