How are aluminium cans recycled?

Aluminium cans are one of the easiest everyday items to recycle. In a world full of one use packaging it’s so important we recycle the items we can… no pun intended. Aluminium was first discovered in 1808 by Sir Humphrey Davy. Since then we have found many uses to help our everyday lives. If we don’t recycle aluminium cans it would take up 500 years for it to oxidise in a landfill. We can never truly know how long it would take to decompose, if at all because none of us will outlive a single aluminium can.

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How much energy does it take to make a aluminium can?

For every pound of aluminium we recycle it saves 7 kilowatt hours of electricity. In that time you could keep 10 100-watt lights on for 7 hours. If you have environmentally friendly 10 watt light bulbs you keep 10 bulbs on for 70 hours! Producing a can takes mining bauxite ore and all of the co2 emissions and energy around that first step. Once mined it needs transported to be melted and then it can be made into a can. Recycling saves a lot of this process.


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Aluminium recycling facts:

  • Aluminium drink cans are the most recycled drinking container on earth. Nearly 70% off all aluminium cans are recycled.
  • Aluminium is 100% recyclable.
  • Nearly 75% off all aluminium ever made is still in use today.
  • For every aluminium can recycled, that saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours!
  • Recycling saves 95% energy as opposed to making it from raw materials.
  • It can take as little as 60 days to use, recycle and put a aluminium can back on the shelf.
  • Aluminium is the most valuable material in your recycling bin! Arguable of all of your waste.
  • If we recycled all our aluminium cans in theory we would not have to produce anymore. This would mean no more mining of Bauxite ore. This will only benefit our planet.
  • Approximately 5.9 billions cans are recycled in the UK alone. This would go around the world 18 times!
  • Every minute 113,200 aluminium cans are recycled. If you are one of these people, well done and thank you.


How are aluminium cans recycled?

Aluminium cans recycling process

  • Each ingot can make 1.6 million drink cans!
  • Every can you save from a landfill makes a difference.


If there isn’t a recycling bin near by pop in your bag and take it home. That fraction of effort will save your can going into a landfill that will be solid for hundreds of years. A lot longer than you will be on this planet. We can all make that effort and One Change Now to make a difference tomorrow.


Related blog articles:

Impacts of smartphones on the environment.
International E-Waste day.
How to recycle.

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