Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. It is strong, durable, flexible, impermeable, lightweight, corrosion resistant and 100% recyclable. Approximately 75% of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today as it can be recycled endlessly without compromising any of its unique properties or qualities.
Aluminium’s life cycle provides significant benefits through recycling, saving 95% of the energy it would take to make new aluminium metal.
There are two categories of aluminium scrap:
New scrap is surplus material that arises during the manufacture and fabrication of aluminium products, up to the point where they are sold to the final consumer. For example, offcuts of aluminium sheet or extrusions are considered new scrap. Sometimes, this new scrap can be safely recycled by aluminium smelters as its composition is known.
Old scrap is material that has been used by the consumer and subsequently discarded. For example, used beverage cans, window frames, electrical cabling and car cylinder heads are all considered old scrap. Aluminium smelters are unable to safely accept this old scrap as its composition is usually unknown and it can be contaminated.
As aluminium smelters cannot safely accept general contaminated scrap, recycling in Australia is largely carried out by specialist metal recyclers. A list of specialist metal recyclers is shown below.
See Case Studies of where aluminium smelters have been trialling innovative recycling solutions, including Boyne Smelter which has innovated to become Australia’s largest aluminium can recycling facility.
The Australian Aluminium Council, as part of the International Aluminium Institute, contributes to the global effort to increase aluminium recycling rates and improve sustainability. For more information visit the International Aluminium Institute.
Links to metal recyclers
Note – these companies are not Members of the Australian Aluminium Council and inclusion in this list is not an endorsement. If there are additional companies which should be included in this list, please Contact Us.