In recent times, there has been a massive improvement in recycling aluminum cans. In 2003, Americans recycled 62.6 billion aluminum cans. Those cans, placed end-to-end, could make 171 circles around the earth. Every minute, an average of 105,800 aluminum cans are recycled. That is how important can recycling has become. But what is involved here?
Local councils provide special can recycling containers (bins) that are marked. This helps people to know what to place in them. Can include soda, fruit, and vegetable cans. Trucks come for these at pick up spots to the recycling centers. Cans may also be metallic or steel, but people do not know the difference.
At the collection center, a giant magnet is rolled over them as they move on the conveyor belt to pull out all the metal and steel cans. Only the aluminum cans are washed, crushed, condensed in to
30-pounds briquettes for other companies for further processing. The rest is also sorted and sent to their appropriate recycling centers.
The crushed cans are loaded into a burning furnace, where all printing and designs on the cans are removed, melted, and blended with new (virgin) aluminum. The molten (liquid) aluminum is poured into containers and made into bars called ingots.
The ingots are then fed into powerful rollers, which flatten them into thin sheets of aluminum of about 25.4 in thickness. These thin sheets are rolled into coils and sold or sent to can-making factories. They use the aluminum coils to prepare cans and containers for other food and drink manufacturers. It is estimated that cans collected at collection points take up to 60 days to appear in the shops again as new cans containing your favorite soda, juice, or food.