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Sustainability New Report Underpins CO2 Reduction Benefit of Aluminum Recycling

From Nicole Kareta

A new report by the industry association European Aluminium shows that the European aluminum refining industry is an excellent example of a modern circular economy business model thanks to its ability to recycle aluminum from multiple scrap streams efficiently. The report further highlights substantial improvements in the sector’s carbon emission performance.

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Based on European Aluminium members’ data, the report provides accurate and reliable performance and Life Cycle Inventory data.
Based on European Aluminium members’ data, the report provides accurate and reliable performance and Life Cycle Inventory data.
(Source: gemeinfrei / Unsplash)

Complementing its 2018 Environmental Profile Report, European Aluminium launched today a dedicated study on the environmental performance of aluminum refining processes used to produce cast alloy aluminum ingots from aluminum scrap. Based on European Aluminium members’ data, the report provides accurate and reliable performance and Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) data, the latter essential for calculating the environmental impact of products using aluminum.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The GHG emissions of the refining process decreased by 14 % between 2010 and 2018.
  • When including the benefits related to the recovery of the aluminum oxide from the salt slag recycling process, the environmental impacts of the refining process can be further decreased by 11 %.
  • The aluminum refining process allows for the recovery and generation of three value-added products, including recycled aluminum, fluxing salt and aluminum oxide from what is generally considered waste. These raw materials recovered from the refining process are used by various industries, including the aluminum, ceramic and cement industries as well as refractories.

Commenting on the findings, Gerd Götz, Director General of European Aluminium, said: “The findings of our new report highlight the importance of boosting aluminum recycling in Europe. Every year, around 1 million tonnes of aluminum scrap are exported outside the EU, which is a huge loss to a European circular economy. We call on the EU to incentivise investments across the full recycling value chain and strengthen the legislative framework pertaining to waste shipment.”

As part of its commitment to the circular economy, European Aluminium promotes lifecycle thinking and has been monitoring the industry’s environmental performance for more than 25 years. Progress is monitored through regular data collection and public reporting.

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