The discovery of aluminium in 1825 was an important one, but nobody really knew just how important until around 1889, when we learned to produce it in more cost-effective ways. Since then, it’s grown to be one of the most helpful and widely-used materials in the world.
As well as being great value for money, it is extremely lightweight and 100% recyclable. In fact, recycling aluminium is far more efficient than creating it from its raw materials. That’s why the more tins and cans we recycle, the better.
Here’s our quick guide on how you can make more use out of your aluminium.
How Is Aluminium Recycled?
First of all, we’d like to explain how tins and cans are treated and turned back into materials, just for some extra insight.
When your waste is collected, the provider takes it to a recycling centre. First, it’s cleaned of any packaging and other non-recyclable materials. Then, the remaining aluminium is shredded and melted in a large furnace, poured into casts and left to harden. It’s really that simple!
How Much More Efficient Is Recycling Aluminium?
Only 5% of the energy taken to create aluminium is used to recycle it, which makes it one of the most efficient materials we have for reuse.
It is believed that ¾ of all produced aluminium is still in use today. However, the recycling rate for aluminium packaging in this country is 42%. This is legally acceptable (beneath 40% is illegal according to our laws), but more should be done.
Why Is This Figure So Low?
As we’ve covered, aluminium is 100% recyclable, but only 42% recycled in this country. This means it’s purely a social issue, and not a shortcoming of recycling itself.
To remedy this, we think there’s a number of culture changes around your business which may encourage more people to recycle their tins and cans. Here’s a few of our tips:
- Educating staff members on the importance of recycling is always a positive first step. You can do this with a ‘recycling day’, an educational video emailed to all employees, or even a quick informal meeting and placing reminders above the bins.
- If you’re in a workplace that uses small waste bins for everything, we suggest swapping them out for separated ones. Having a recycling bin and a general bin will help you recycle as much as possible.
- Incentivising staff for recycling might encourage them, and help them see it as more than a chore. A small monthly bonus in exchange for no recyclables in the under desk bins could be a huge motivator.
- Lead by example! Employees watching you ignore the rules you’ve set will feel less inclined to join in.
Many of these are simple and relatively easy to implement, but they can really help your business recycle more as a whole.
If you’d like to organise some recycling collections, need a new bin, or just want to know your provider cares about the environment, you can contact us for a free quote below.