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Green Solution: Aluminum

Understanding the value aluminum delivers to the environment is important for all businesses. China is the world's largest consumer of aluminum, while the U.S. is the fourth largest producer of the primary metal.

Aluminum is the most commonly recycled metal in the world. More than one-third of all the aluminum currently produced globally originates from recycled metal. Recycled aluminum ingot requires only about five percent of the energy necessary to produce primary aluminum ingot. Using a product that can easily be recycled in your business...just makes good sense.

Aluminum

Aluminum is made from two sources: primary metal, produced from ore; and secondary metal, produced from scrap.

The atomic structure of aluminum is not changed during melting so it can be recycled repeatedly without losing its inherent properties. The lifecycle of an aluminum product is a renewable "cradle-to-cradle" sequence, instead of traditional "cradle-to-grave," as illustrated by the following production steps:

  1. Bauxite mining
  2. Extraction of alumina from the bauxite
  3. Production of primary aluminum by electrolysis
  4. Semi-fabrication, which includes several industries like rolling, casting and extrusion
  5. Product manufacturing
  6. Use phase, where the major outlets for aluminum products are in transport, building, construction, packaging and engineering
  7. Recycling aluminum products to be used again

How We Make a Difference

We are committed to doing business with suppliers that strive to improve business practices as they relate to the environment. A team of our employees oversees the business operations and how they affect our environment.

We currently recycle all of our scrap aluminum and purchase 20% of our aluminum billet as remelt secondary billet. In 2007, we recycled more than five million pounds of aluminum scrap. The energy saved is more than 33 million kilowatt hours of power—the equivalent of the electricity used in 2,770 homes in one year (based on an average use of 1,000 kilowatt hours per month).