The Alcoa Australia Rolled Products plant at Yennora is home to the largest aluminium recycling facility in Australia.  This facility recycles around 55,000 tonnes of scrap aluminium per year including over half a billion cans.
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 (ie. there is no paint or lacquer on the metal) it is loaded directly into a large furnace called a melter 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 melter. Alloys are added to the melters 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 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.
Aluminium is endlessly recyclable, and it is estimated that nearly three-quarters of all aluminium ever made since 1886 remains in use today.

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The rotary furnace in action

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The oxygen burner at the rotary furnace

Recycling Process Postcard

Read more on the recycling process here