Recycling is carried out on a large scale in the aluminium industry. Compared with the production of primary aluminium, recycling saves raw materials and large amounts of energy. Scrap from aluminium processing and used aluminium products are both recycled.

This section covers several aspects.

Click on one of the topics below to obtain further information about it:

  • Types of scrap
  • Sorting and pre-treatment of scrap
  • Remelting and refining technologies
  • Saving energy by recycling
  • Recyclingrates
  • Amount of recycled aluminium in new products

Recycling of Aluminium

In general, the term recycling denotes the reuse of a product (product recycling) or the material (material recycling) from which the product is made. Particularly in the case of aluminium, recycling can be used to recover the energy "stored" in the material (energy recycling).

In the aluminium branch, reuse of the material is of particular importance, for today old aluminium can be remelted and used again without any loss of quality whatsoever. Depending on the kind kind of scrap , the recycling process incorporates the following steps:

  1. Collection
  2. Sorting and preparation of the scraps
  3. Remelting and refining
  4. Casting of the delivery format

Economic significance of aluminium recycling

Due to the metal’s high internal value which can be recovered without any loss of quality and the fact that compared to the production of primary aluminium considerable energy savings can be made, the recycling of aluminium is highly interesting proposition in economic terms. Positive side effects consist in a reduced consumption of commodities and a smaller demand for landfill sites. Thanks to these all these factors, the recycling of aluminium makes an important contribution to the protection of the environment. The growing economic significance of aluminium becomes apparent from the statistics stated below. The figures reflect the ever increasing production of recycled aluminium. As exemplified by Western Europe, the proportion of secondary aluminium as a share of the entire production has risen markedly in recent years.