Aluminium ... endlessly recyclable

Aluminium’s lifecycle provides significant greenhouse benefits through recycling.  Aluminium is almost endlessly recyclable and recycling saves 95% of the energy it would take to make new metal.  Nearly three-quarters of all aluminium ever made since 1886 remains in use today.
Alcoa is the largest recycler of aluminium in Australia and we recycle around 55,000 tonnes of aluminium each year at our facility in Yennora, NSW.  That includes the recycling of around half a billion cans.

An aluminium can recycles 100% back into another aluminium can while only using 5% of the energy needed to make a new can from scratch.  Recycling one aluminium can even saves enough energy to run a television for three hours.

Used aluminium cans are recycled and returned to a store shelf as a new can in as few as 60 days.

Find out more about recycling.
How Alcoa recycles aluminium in Australia ... 
External suppliers compact and sort the scrap aluminium to improve its density and reduce freight, storage and handling costs before delivery to the Yennora site.

Upon receipt at Yennora, the recycled aluminium is classified so the optimal end use and processing path can be determined.

If the aluminium to be recycled is un-coated (i.e. there is no paint or lacquer on the metal) it is loaded directly into a large furnace called a smelter where it is heated at high temperatures and turned into molten form.

If the aluminium to be recycled is coated, it is processed through a gas fired rotary furnace to remove any coating and then transferred to the smelter.

Alloys are added to the smelters to suit the end purpose of the aluminium. The molten aluminium is then transferred into a holding furnace where the metal is tested and alloy levels adjusted before being cast into 10 tonne ingots.

The ingots are then transferred to the rolling mill to be rolled into aluminium sheet and sold to customers. Metal sourced from recycled cans requires only five percent of the energy needed to mine, refine and smelt primary aluminium, however both processes produce identical ingots.

Recycling aluminium reduces industry requirements for natural resources and diverts waste from landfill. 

Download information on Recycling

Information on the recycling process