Though collection rates for aluminium building applications were previously suspected to be high, no firm evidence existed to this effect until 2004, when the European Aluminium Association commissioned Delft University of Technology to investigate how much aluminium was actually present in a sample of six European buildings and, of this content, how much was recovered and recycled upon demolition. The collection rates were found to vary between 92% and 98% demonstrating aluminium’s pivotal role in the pursuit of full sustainability.

Professor Udo Boin (Delft University of Technology) found that “despite the aluminium content being below 1% of the total mass of the individual building, it represents a considerable volume for collection and sometimes the only real economic return from the entire demolition, thanks to the high intrinsic value of aluminium.”

Recycling Messages

Aluminium can be recycled over and over again without loss of properties. The high value of aluminium scrap is a key incentive and major economic impetus for recycling.

Aluminium recycling benefits present and future generations by conserving energy and other natural resources. It saves up to 95% of the energy required for primary aluminium production, thereby avoiding corresponding emissions, including greenhouse gases.

Industry continues to recycle, without subsidy, all the aluminium it can collect from used products, as well as fabrication and manufacturing processes.

The growing markets for aluminium are supplied by both primary and recycled metal sources. Increasing demand for aluminium and the long lifetime of many products mean that, for the foreseeable future, the overall volume of primary metal produced from bauxite will continue to be substantially greater than the volume of available recycled metal.

Between 92% and 98% of building aluminium were found to be collected and recycled in Europe demonstrating aluminium’s pivotal role in the pursuit of full sustainability.

General Aluminium Recycling Flow Chart