Aluminum — and aluminum extrusion — is playing a major role in lessening the impact of growth and industrial development on our environment

  • Through extensive, and resource friendly, recycling from production through end-of-life
  • By delivering in-use benefits via reduced environmental impact of products in which extrusion is utilized
  • By reducing emissions and other undesirable byproducts of the production process

Aluminum production in North America is more sustainable today than at any time in history, according to a new Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) study conducted by The Aluminum Association (aluminum.org). The study examined the environmental impact of modern aluminum production and reviewed the 2010 production year. The LCA study incorporates data from 25 companies, representing 95 percent of primary metal production and the majority of the industry in the U.S. and Canada.

The reduction in energy use by primary aluminum producers over the past two decades has led to a steady decline in the industry's carbon footprint.

Energy needed to produce a single metric ton of aluminum has declined:

  • 26 percent since 1995
  • 11 percent since 2005

 

The industry's carbon footprint has dropped even more dramatically, declining:

  • 37 percent since 1995
  • 19 percent since 2005

 

The study was peer reviewed by a third-party expert to ensure conformance with International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. It is believed to be one of the most robust LCA reports ever released by an industry trade group.

 

To learn more, visit www.aluminum.org/LCAReport.

Did You Know?

  • As an elemental metal, Aluminum is unique in that it can be recycled over and over without any degradation in physical properties
  • Over 1 billion tons of primary aluminum has been produced since 1888: 75% of it is still in productive use!
  • In total, recycling represents roughly 35% of global aluminum production
  • Recycling aluminum requires only about 5% of the energy required for primary aluminum production.
  • Each ton of aluminum recycled, rather than produced from ore, saves:
    • 24 barrels of crude oil equivalents
    • Over 15 tons of fresh or sea water
    • More than 9 tons of CO2 equivalents
  • Substituting aluminum for other materials has substantial in-use benefits, saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions.
  • The emissions savings from increased aluminum usage in transportation is so great that the aluminum industry should become "greenhouse gas neutral" in the next decade, i.e., the global warming impact from aluminum production will be more than offset by the carbon dioxide reductions from its use in transportation.