Research says that aluminum cans could take approximately 200-500 years to decompose. When you consider that 28 percent of our waste is aluminum cans, we could see how easy it would be for trash to start piling up around us.
Not only does it cause harm to bury it, but it causes even more harm to make it.
1 ton of cans produce 5 tons of caustic waste. Each ton of aluminum cans requires 5 tons of bauxite ore to be strip-mined, crushed, washed, and refined into alumina before it is smelted, creating about 5 tons of caustic red mud residues which can seep into surface and groundwater.
While aluminum companies often cite tremendous savings from recycling aluminum, they fail to mention that at current wasting levels; about 23 billion kilowatt-hours are squandered globally each year through ‘replacement production.’ About 7 kWh are saved per pound (33 cans) recycled. Had the 50 billion trashed cans been recycled, the electricity saved could power 1.3 million American homes. In total, the industry’s annual electricity consumption is almost 300 billion kilowatt-hours, or about 3% of the world’s total electricity consumption.
Every little that is recycled helps and here are a couple of statistics to prove it.
- A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
- Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy and 20 recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce one can using virgin ore.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.
- Last year 54 billion cans were recycled saving energy equivalent to 15 million barrels of crude oil – America’s entire gas consumption for one day.
- Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline.
Plus, you can get paid to recycle them. That’s an incentive that no one can argue with. The benefits can go on and on.