When it comes to recyclability

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When it comes to recyclability - What sets aluminium apart?

Aluminium is the most abundant metal on earth today with its physical and mechanical properties making it the ideal choice for parts that can be used in almost any industry. Being corrosion-resistant, durable, and having a high strength-to-weight ratio, the metal creates lighter pieces with more surface finishing options than any other alloy. It can withstand extremely high operating temperatures and makes for a great choice for products that require heat dissipation, like computers and handheld devices. Apart from that, it is renowned for its nearly infinite recyclability! This attribute not only makes it ideal to reduce waste generally but also presents an opportunity to reduce emissions in its own sector.

But despite the advantageous properties of aluminium, the aluminium sector emits 1.1 billion tonnes of GHGs annually, around 2% of all global anthropogenic emissions. The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) predicts that if no action is taken, GHG emissions will reach 1.6 Gt CO2e annually by 2050. More than 60% of the emissions associated with aluminium production are indirect emissions attributed to electricity consumption. With the amount of potential the metal presents, how can we change the current scenario to a greener reality?

Creating greener pastures

The greatest obstacle facing many aluminium players is how to transition from fossil fuel-based electricity to fossil-free electricity. But the silver lining is that aluminium can be 100% recycled. The amount of energy used to produce aluminium is the ultimate differentiator when it comes to cost. Primary aluminium extraction uses a great deal of energy, consisting mainly of electricity, natural gas and liquified petroleum gas consumption. To put it in perspective, recycled aluminium, also known as green aluminium, uses approximately 90% less energy than mining for pure aluminium.

If we adhere to a circular business model, aluminium is recovered at the end of a product’s life and constantly cycled through the value chain rather than entering a landfill. Around 7 million tonnes of aluminium are not recycled each year; with no change in recycling rates, this is projected to reach 17 million tonnes per year by 2050. Recovery of 95% of this material would reduce demand for primary aluminium by 15%, avoiding 250 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year!

What the future can look like

At Runaya, we are set to revolutionise the resources industry by creating environmentally-friendly solutions that promote a circular economy and are defined by the philosophy to take waste to the last mile. With a sustainability and metal recovery project currently operating in Odisha, we recycle 100% of aluminium dross into value-add products.

Our dross recycling plant at Jharsuguda, which is a project to provide an end-to-end green solution for the recovery of aluminium and processing residual waste from aluminium smelters addresses one of the biggest challenges facing the aluminium industry - which is the handling, evacuation, processing and disposal of dross in a way that doesn't harm the environment.

The world produces 65 million tons of aluminium per annum, which results in 1 million tons of aluminium dross being produced every year - out of which 100k is produced in India. The environmental impact of this waste is a global problem that needs to be addressed on priority. Our best bet, and a guaranteed solution, is a shift towards the circular economy.

Because, as they say, what goes around comes around!