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Recycling Facts - Aluminum
  • Each year the U.S. population discards enough aluminum to rebuild the U.S. commercial air fleet four times over.
  • Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95% less energy and 20 recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce 1 can using virgin ore.
  • The weight of 1.665 million pounds of aluminum cans recycled in 2001 was equal to the weight of 14 aircraft carriers……983,709 tons.
  • In 1995, aluminum companies saved the equivalent of over 20.6 million barrels of oil – or 12.3 billion kilowatt-hours by recycling. This represents enough energy to supply the electrical needs of a city the size of Pittsburgh for about 6 years.
  • About 7 kilowatt-hours are saved per pound (33 cans) recycled.
  • Recycling 1 ton of aluminum saves the equivalent in energy of 2,350 gal. of gasoline, this is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by the typical home over a period of 10 years.
  • According to the International Aluminum Institute, about 1/3 of the primary aluminum produced world wide uses coal-generated electricity, 10% relies on oil and natural gas-fired electricity generation, 5% is nuclear powered, and about half uses hydroelectricity (dams). In total, the industry’s annual electricity consumption is almost 300 billion kilowatt-hours, or about 3% of the worlds total electricity consumption.
  • Primary aluminum smelting generates sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, which contribute to smog and acid rain. The emission of 75,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide would have been avoided if all the wasted cans in 2005 had been recycled.
  • At current wasting levels, about 23 billion kilowatt-hours are squandered globally each year.
  • If Californians recycled all the aluminum cans they buy in one day, we would have enough aluminum to make 17 Boeing 727 jets.
  • More than one million tons of aluminum containers and packaging (soda cans,  TV dinner trays, aluminum foil) are thrown away each year.
  • Last year, approximately 36 billion aluminum cans were land filled. The cans that were thrown away had an estimated scrap value of more than $600 million.

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