Aluminium recycling is gaining in importance as a source of raw materials.
Today, aluminium scrap is already one of the most economically valuable secondary raw materials. Around 20 percent of the world’s aluminium requirements are covered by post-consumer scrap. ALUMINIUM – the world’s largest industry event – will present the latest developments and potential of aluminium recycling from 9 to 11 October in Düsseldorf.
Its significance is increasing in a time of shrinking raw material reserves and scarce and above all expensive, energy. Recycled aluminium is produced in the form of cast and wrought alloys. There are no qualitative differences between alloys made from the primary metal and those made from recycled aluminium.
Scrap supply is the bottleneck for the aluminium material cycle, since aluminium is used mostly in products with long service lives, e.g. in construction applications like windows or in cars. Windows, e.g., can have a service life of well over 50 years. That makes it necessary to wait a long time before the scrap can be recycled.
Long before the need for sustainable development became a widely discussed topic, the global aluminium industry had already been running its material through a largely closed-loop cycle of metal production, processing, use and recovery. Product-related material cycles from production to processing and use to recovery of the metal are already largely closed today – depending on the application market. This has always been true for long-lived applications in cars and buildings – with recycling rates of about 95 per cent – and now for relatively short-lived product applications in packaging. Recycling rates of more than 80 per cent have been reached in this segment in Germany and recycling rates continue to rise in the EU area, as well.
According to estimates by the International Aluminium Institute, about 17 million tonnes of post-consumer scrap accumulated worldwide in 2016. This volume will increase to about 21 million tonnes in 2020, representing a share of more than one third of today’s global production of primary aluminium. Today, about 20 per cent of aluminium demand is covered by old scrap – i.e. metal from products that have served their purpose. Another source of raw materials besides old scrap is new scrap. New scrap refers to, for example, waste generated in the production of semi-finished goods, sprues from casting foundries, or shavings from the mechanical processing of semi-finished goods and other products. Initially, increasing aluminium demand leads to higher demand for semi-finished goods, which results in a higher volume of scrap – unless process optimization steps can be implemented to reduce the amount of accrued scrap. This is done to the extent possible, in part because it’s economically beneficial to companies: more scrap means less product and thus less efficient production.
Aluminium scrap is among the most economically valuable secondary raw materials. Recovering and recycling it conserves resources and makes an important contribution to limiting the rise of greenhouse gases. For that reason alone, using existing scrap is in the aluminium industry’s very own interest.
Recycling Pavilion at ALUMINIUM 2018
From 9 to 11 October, the ALUMINIUM trade fair in Düsseldorf will present the latest developments and potential of light metal recycling. The world’s largest industry event for the aluminium industry will dedicate its own exhibition space to the subject of recycling. A total of around 1,000 exhibitors and 27,000 visitors from 100 nations are expected. This year, the exhibition area will grow to 80,000 square metres – a record and a clear sign of the current dynamism in the aluminium industry.
In six exhibition halls, global players, specialists and young innovative companies will present the complete range of the industry, from aluminium production to machines and plants for processing, semi-finished products, products for the application industries and recycling.
In addition to the aluminium producing and processing industry, the fair will also focus on processes and product innovations for the most important aluminium application industries: automotive, mechanical engineering, construction, aerospace, electronics, packaging and rail transport.