Aluminum

Specially labeled garbage cans will be located at the main entryways to all buildings. Please empty cans completely to help us avoid a pest problems.

We can recycle:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum pie pans
  • Aluminum food trays

Aluminum is one of the most environmentally sound commodities to recycle.

Bauxite, the most important ore of aluminum, is a mixture of alumina (Al2O3), silica, various iron oxides, and titanium dioxide. To remove the alumina, strong chemicals and high temperatures (1,050° Celsius/1,900° Fahrenheit) are used during the Bayer process. Only half of the bauxite is saved as alumina. The rest of the material is considered waste. The waste mixture is called red mud, and presents a disposal problem, environmentally.

The alumina must be purified further using the Hall-Héroult process before it can be refined to aluminum metal. The aluminum is extracted in a high-temperature (1,200° Celsius/2,200° Fahrenheit), electrochemical reduction from molten alumina. You can only separate the oxygen from the aluminum by using electrodes and pumping in more electricity.

Since so much heat and electricity is needed to produce pure aluminum, it is a very costly process, energetically. However, once the pure aluminum is created, it is very easy to re-melt it and make new products. 95% of the energy is saved by recycling aluminum instead of creating it from bauxite.

It has been said that when you throw away an aluminum can, you could just as easily fill half of that can with gasoline and pour it down the drain. That is equivalent to the high cost of energy to make a new can from bauxite instead of recycling it.

Please recycle your aluminum. It is a very valuable commodity.