The Aluminum Association Inc. has published the first sustainability report on the North American aluminum industry, which includes highlights on recycling.
The 70-page report, titled, "Aluminum: The Element of Sustainability," documents the industry’s sustainability improvements over the past 20 years, including a 72 percent reduction in cumulative greenhouse gas emissions and a 17 percent reduction in energy demand from primary aluminum production. From secondary aluminum production, greenhouse gas emissions fell 65 percent and energy demand 58 percent.
“This study puts hard data behind the key metrics that define sustainability for the aluminum industry,” said Aluminum Association President Steve Larkin in a press release. It details dramatic reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions that the industry has achieved through process and technological improvements.”
Recycling figures prominently in the report, which states that in 2009 the recycling of aluminum offset approximately 88 percent of major resource use found in primary production.
The report states that consumer items such as beverage cans have a 50 to 60 percent recycling rate. Larger commercial items are recycled from between 80 to 95 percent.
“Increasing recycling is absolutely essential for the aluminum industry to achieve its sustainability goals,” the report says.