Aluminum is a material that our world uses most often.
Recycling aluminum is more efficient than mining it. It is derived from bauxite and refined through a process called electrolysis. Recycling aluminum can save 90% of the energy required to make new aluminum. This is why it is important to reuse it.
Cans are what most people think of when they think about aluminum recycling. You may not be aware that aluminum cans only make up a little over half of the total aluminum recycled. Continue reading to learn how you can get started recycling aluminum scrap beyond just cans. The top four types are aluminum scrap and some tips on how to maximize your aluminum scrap.
1. Sheet Aluminum
Aluminum’s high malleability makes it easy to work into a sheet. Sheet aluminum, after being spun or stamped, is used in many everyday objects. These include:
- Chemical containers
- Decorative panels
- Food packaging
- Household Appliances
- Pots and pans
- Tanks with pressurized air
- Sun shades
Both sheet aluminum and steel are similar in appearance at first glance. They’re both bright, silvery metals that can be used to make similar products and can be colored or painted. Use a magnet to determine if you are looking at steel or aluminum. Magnets stick to steel but not aluminum.
2. Siding, Windows and Gutters
Aluminum is used to make a variety of building materials, including siding, windows and gutters.
Aluminum siding is less popular today, but it’s still available. Aluminum scrappers can benefit from this, since homeowners who are looking to replace old siding will be willing to give it up. Aluminum cans are cheaper than siding and gutters because they’re made of a thicker aluminum grade that is more resistant to weather.
Aluminum is also used in some window components, but it can be mixed with other materials such as plastic, rubber or glass. They act as contaminants and will lower the price of aluminum.
3. Auto Parts
Aluminum is used in many cars because it’s lightweight. Its most well-known use in the transportation industry is auto parts. This includes everything from decorative pieces to the actual body of the vehicle. Aluminum auto parts include:
- Doors and visors
- Rims and hubs
The auto repair shops recycle parts that are made of aluminum. You can finance your next auto repair project by learning about aluminum recycling.
Aluminum parts may be found in other motor vehicles, such as motorcycles, tractors and planes. Other recyclable metals are also worth recovering when scrapping aluminum. Even a fishing boat made of aluminum can be recycled!
4. Electrical Wires
Aluminum is used in many electronic components. While copper is the preferred metal for home wiring, it can also be found in other types of electronics.
In the 1960s, and 1970s aluminum wires were used to replace copper. However, their electrical properties caused them to be a fire risk. Home inspectors must now report any aluminum wiring found in residential homes. If old aluminum wires were discovered and thrown away, they can be easily recycled.
Aluminum is also used for most power transmission cables, even though it’s not the best material to use in residential wiring. Aluminum is also used in electronic enclosures because of its durability and strength. This includes shells and casings as well as some fasteners.
Separate copper from aluminum enclosures or wiring. It should be obvious that the difference is between the two metals. The former is silver and the latter is brownish red. But separating the recyclable metals before you go to the scrapyard will help you get more money.
Other Items that Could Contain Aluminium
There are many other uses for aluminum, and so it can be recycled in other products. Some examples include:
- Household Decorations
- HVAC systems
- Lawn and gardening products
- Outdoor furniture and accessories
- Medical devices
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- Sport equipment
Don’t forget those cans when you think about all the aluminum products which can be recycled. Remembering to reuse them is a crucial part of the recycling process. Beverage cans make up 50% of all recycled aluminum. Aluminum can be recycled into brand new cans. This contributes to the circular economy, where nothing is wasted. When recycling cans, make sure you rinse them thoroughly to remove any contaminants and crush them for more space and volume.