Aluminium Can Recycling

Recycling Aluminium cans saves energy and natural resources, and also reduces the pressure on landfill sites.
If all the aluminium cans sold were recycled there would be around 14 million fewer dustbins emptied into landfill sites every year!

Aluminium cans that are recycled in the Nigeria are melted down and turned into ingots of aluminium, which are used to make new cans. This is called closed loop recycling, because old cans go in and metal to make new cans comes out.

How can you tell if a drink can is made of aluminium?

Around 75% of drink cans are made of aluminium . An easy way to check is to test the side of a can with a magnet - if the magnet does not stick, it is aluminium. Aluminium cans are lighter than steel and the metal is shinier - if you compare the base of a steel can to one made of aluminium you can see the difference.

Aluminium Can Recycling Loop

It is up to us to keep the aluminium can recycling loop going! Here is how it works:
    Stage 1: Collection
    Stage 2: Recycling
    Stage 3: Rolling
    Stage 4: Can Making
    Stage 5: Filling
    Stage 6: Selling

Stage 1: Collection 

Aluminium cans are collected for recycling in a number of ways:
    Can banks - located at supermarkets and council recycling sites. These are emptied by waste management companies.
    Reward for cans centres - where you can exchange empty aluminium cans for Incentives
Once collected the cans are delivered to aggregation centres. Here the cans are checked to ensure they don't contain any steel, plastic, paper, dirt or excess liquid as these can disrupt the recycling process. They are then baled and transported to the Used Beverage Can Recycling Plant.
Stage 2: Recycling 

The recycling process has four stages:

    Shredding: Mechanical hammers shred the flattened cans into small pieces, about the size of a 50p
    Decoating: Decoration is removed by blowing hot air (500 Degrees Celsius) through the shreds
    Melting: The shreds are melted in a furnace heated to 750 Degrees Celsius
    Casting: The molten metal flows into molds and is cooled by jets of water. As it cools and the metal hardens and an 'ingot' is formed

Each ingot weighs 27 tonnes. It is 15 metres long and contains enough metal to make 1.5 million drink cans. The ingot is now transported  to the rolling mill.

Stage 3: Rolling 

The ingots are pre-heated to 600 Degrees Celsius and undergo their first rolling. They are then 'cold rolled' to the exact specification and thickness required by the can maker.

Stage 4: Can Making 

The aluminium sheet is lubricated and fed through a cupping press. This cuts, or blanks, thousands of shallow cups. The sides of the cups are raised to form the can shape by being rammed through a series of rings. The can is trimmed and washed ready for decorating.

The inside and outside of the can is treated with a lacquer. This forms the base coat for the external decoration and prevents the contents reacting with the metal inside.

After the decoration has been applied the cans are dried in an oven and then passed through a necker/flanger to prepare them to take the can end.

Stage 5: Filling 

Cans are cleaned using high pressure air and water. Then the air is extracted and at the same the can is filled with carbon dioxide gas (CO2). The liquid contents are then added and the can ends are attached and mechanically sealed.
Around 2000 cans are filled by this process every minute.  The cans are then packed ready for dispatch to the distributor or retailer.

Stage 6: Selling 
The final stage of the loop is when the cans are delivered to the retailer, ready for you to buy - again! This could be your local supermarket, corner shop or a vending machine in your office or leisure centre.

So now you know what makes the loop go around - you do! Make sure you play your part and recycle your aluminium drink cans!

"Recycling Aluminium cans saves energy and natural resources, and also reduces the pressure on landfill sites."


Servena 2017/01/21

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