The Naturally Green Alternative

Aluminum Life Cycle

The environment advantages of aluminum are widely acknowledged. Aluminum is one of the most durable and versatile of metals, offering improved mileage in automobiles by virtue of light weight and tremendous recyclability. According to the Aluminum Association, about one third of all aluminum produced in the U.S. is from recycled sources, saving some 95 percent of the energy required to produce aluminum from raw materials. Aluminum is the environmentally sound choice for all sorts of applications.

Aluminum is a "green" material

Aluminum, one of the most abundant elements in the earths crust, is an ideal natural materials choice. Aluminum is recyclable, sustainable, and versatile; three key qualities for a green material. Historically, aluminum has proven to be one of the most important materials in a successful recycling program. Aluminium offers high scrap value, widespread consumer acceptance, and aluminum recycling enjoys significant industry support. Aluminum has always been a green building material, and continues to offer key attributes that architects and builders want in a sustainable building, namely durability throughout a long life cycle, structural strength and more importantly, recyclability. At the end-of-life state in a building, aluminum is 100% recyclable, and may be reused in building components without any loss in quality.

Anodizing enhances aluminum life cyle

Anodizing enhances aluminum and its environmental virtues. Anodizing uses the base metal, the aluminum alloy, to create a thin, extremely strong and corrosion-resistant finish. The anodized surface is very hard and thus preserves and extends the life of the aluminum product.

Anodizing is a water-based process and uses no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). There are no vehicle solvents, no carrier resins, and any pigmentation used in anodizing is created by extremely small amounts of metal or dye securely locked within the hard surface. No halogenated hydrocarbons or similar toxic organics are used in anodizing. Simple neutralization reduces most anodizing chemicals to common dissolved minerals. Anodizing is performed without generation of hazardous waste, and in many cases aluminum-rich anodizing wastes are environmentally valuable in removing pollutants. Anodizing is not metal plating. Unlike metal plating the anodic coating is generated from the base metal and has essentially the same properties as the aluminum. Under EPA rules, conventional anodizing generates no hazardous waste. Recyclability is unaltered by anodizing and no intermediate processing is needed for anodized metal to reenter the recycle chain, unlike thicker organic or plated metal coatings.

(This article compliments of the Aluminum Anodizers Council)