the Aluminum Association and Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) new report states that aluminum cans are the most recycled beverage containers in the market, they have the highest recycling rate. A can usually contains 70% of recycled content, which is 3 times more than plastic or glass containers all this while being around 300 percent more valuable than other materials. A can is generally turned into a new can and back on store shelves within 60 days.
In addition aluminum cans have become lighter by 38 percent since 1972 in the United States, with a weight of 12.99 grams approximately. Aluminum cans are more than 15 times lighter than standard 12 oz. glass bottles, which makes it easier to transport bigger quantities of beverage and optimizing their transportation costs.
An Aluminum can goes through several steps during its life span from one recycling process to a new one
Stage 1 : Can Shredding
In this step cans are shredded into pieces the size of a walnut. The shreds are then passed through a double magnetic drum separator to remove any steel that may have been mixed into the bale.
Stage 2 : De-coating
Any paint or other chemical coating on the aluminum is removed by blowing hot air (around 550°C) through the shreds on a slowly moving insulated conveyor. The exhaust gases from this process are first passed through an afterburner and then used to heat incoming process air via a heat exchanger, minimizing the energy requirements of the system
Stage 3 : Melting
After the de-coated process, the aluminum shreds are put into a melting furnace containing submerged stirrers that create a vortex in the pool of molten aluminum and drag the shreds quickly down into the melt.
Stage 4 : Aluminum Casting
The molten metal is transferred into a furnace to remove impurities and start the casting process then Ingots are cast from the remaining pure metal.
Once in the mold, cool water is sprayed around and through the base of the mold. The aluminum ingot ten solidifies for the next three hours. The finished 18-ton ingots, each containing approximately 1.5 million used cans, are shipped to a mill for rolling into the sheet from which aluminum can makers subsequently produce new cans and the whole process begins again.
source: www.aluminum.org and homeguides.sfgate.com
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Houria // SMC Editor