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The Life of an Aluminum Can

Posted on 23 July 2016

1. Mining of Aluminum Bauxite

Aluminum bauxite composite is mined an open-cut mining procedure. The topsoil is first removed by bulldozers and scrapers, the underlying ore is then extracted using front-end loaders and hydraulic excavators. The bauxite ores are then crushed, cleaned, and transported to the refineries.

2. Alumina Production

In the refineries, alumina is extracted from the aluminum bauxite using the Bayer refining process; alumina is a compound made of aluminum and oxygen. This process takes up four distinctive steps: digestion, clarification, precipitation, and calcination. The end product of this process leaves a dry, pure white, and sandy alumina. These alumina will then be processed further in the chemical industry.

3. Smelting

In the chemical industry, the alumina is separated into oxygen and aluminum by electrolysis. After electrolysis, the aluminum is then moved onto a large heated furnace so that it would be at its molten state ─ a process called smelting; impurities are swiftly removed. Smelting requires a huge amount of energy, using about 14,000-16,000 kilowatt hours of electrical energy to produce one tonne of aluminum from two tonnes of alumina.

4. Ingots and Can Production

During this process, aluminum is melted with high heat ranging from 1300 to 1400 fahrenheit and then shaped into a large slab called ingots. The aluminum ingots are then rolled and shaped into the shape of a can.

5. Customer Uses

After the can is produced, it is distributed into beverage companies which will then fill and seal the cans with a wide range of drinks. They will then deliver the aluminum can into the end customers: you. The aluminum can is now within your reach.

6. Sorting and Recycling

After you use the aluminum can and drink its content, it is time for it to be recycled. By putting it into the recycling garbage, it will get sorted from other waste to be recycled. The recycling process restarts from the ingot production, skipping the most energy consuming step (i.e: the smelting procedure).
It should be noted that aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials in the world, and so, aluminum cans can be reused over and over again. In fact, recycling is the most efficient and economical way to use and sell aluminum cans. Tal Metal specializes in scrap metal recycling. Through our experience, we understand the importance of aluminum can recycling to our environment, and so we vehemently support can recycling. If you are a supplier or a buyer of scrap metal, feel free to contact us at 905-660-7081 for more information about our recycling process.

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