Aluminium is an essential material for the development of a more sustainable society. Aluminium is used to make everything from windfarms to lightweight electric vehicles to mass transit systems. This role in sustainability is why the International Aluminium Institute forecasts that global aluminium demand will grow by between 50 per cent and 80 per cent by 2050.
But to ensure this valuable material reaches its full potential to contribute to sustainability, we have to stop throwing so much of it away.
Aluminium is already one of the world’s most recycled materials. The metal is infinitely-recyclable – that means it can be used over-and-over again without losing the properties that make it so useful. About 75 per cent of all the aluminium ever made by human hands is still in use today – some metal has been part of many different products already.
Of course, this impressive number means that a quarter of all the aluminium ever made is in landfills or, even worse, is litter in our environment.
Each of us has the power to change this, and in this blog we will explain why this must be an important societal goal.
An environmental opportunity
Aluminium’s importance in decarbonisation economy-wide means that new aluminium will still be required well beyond 2050. But the role of recycled aluminium is set to grow. In fact, if all used aluminium is disposed of properly and recycled worldwide, it would be this recycled metal that would meet much of the increase in global aluminium demand through to 2050.
Recycling aluminium takes 95 per cent less energy than making new aluminium. Aluminium production is energy-intensive, and the energy required accounts for well-over half the greenhouse gas emissions generated from making new metal.
Recycling aluminium also reduces the need for new natural resources. Bauxite is the ore from which aluminium is derived. The more aluminium that is recycled, the less bauxite that needs to be mined.
Aluminium recycling also represents a potential growth industry for the UAE. Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) makes the UAE the fifth-biggest aluminium-producing nation in the world. This is a tremendous foundation to make the UAE a global leader in aluminium recycling.
Aluminium recycling initiatives in the UAE
EGA, the largest industrial company in the UAE outside oil and gas, plans to construct an aluminium recycling plant with an annual capacity of 150,000 tonnes. This will be the country’s largest, and will produce low-carbon, high-quality recycled aluminium billet from scrap aluminium primarily sourced from the UAE and the wider MENA region.
Currently, much of the aluminum scrap generated in the GCC is either disposed of or exported, and therefore lost to our national economy.
That loss starts with millions of individual decisions on how to dispose of used aluminium products, such as soda cans.
EGA has partnered with RECAPP by Veolia as well as other waste management companies, can-makers and beverage producers to promote aluminium recycling in UAE society. With your help, we can ensure all aluminium consumed in the UAE is disposed of properly and recycled, benefiting the environment and the economy.
In conclusion, aluminium recycling is a crucial part of a sustainable future. With its environmental, and economic benefits, aluminium recycling is an effective way to reduce our collective burden on the planet while further growing prosperity and progress. For EGA, this is summed up in the company’s purpose – Together, innovating aluminium to make modern life possible.