Aluminum Extrusion Industry Sustainability Performance
While the use of Aluminum Extrusion can make substantial contributions to sustainability through recycling and the delivery of in-use carbon and fuel reductions in transportation and building applications, the industry also has a strong commitment to reduce the environmental impact of its own processes.
Reduced Energy Consumption & Emissions
Over the past 20 years, the North American aluminum industry has consistently improved its processes and reduced the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, per ton of aluminum produced.
According to a 2022 life cycle analysis of primary aluminum production by The Aluminum Association, the North American aluminum industry has reduced energy demand 27 percent and carbon footprint has been reduced 49 percent since 1991.
Industrial Energy Consumption
Also, according to The Aluminum Association’s 2022 Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), energy consumption per ton of aluminum produced in secondary casthouses, the majority of which are operated by AEC members, has been reduced by nearly 50% from 1991 to 2016. Over the same period, greenhouse gas emissions from secondary casthouses have been reduced by 60%.
When looking strictly at aluminum extrusion produced in North America, the same LCA shows a decline of around 8% in greenhouse gas emissions from 2010-2016 (earlier data not available). This primarily reflects an increase in the use of recycled material (hence a decline in the use of prime aluminum) over the period, as well as the improvements in greenhouse gas emissions of the raw materials themselves.
Further, relative to upstream production processes, the aluminum industry is committed to the responsible mining of bauxite, the primary raw material in aluminum. On average, 162 square meters (1743 square feet) of land is required to produce 1000 tons of bauxite. To mitigate environmental disturbance, the industry rehabilitates an equivalent amount of finished mining sites.