Climate

Recycling as a way of life

Craig Johnson

By , Web Editor in Hydro

Recycling as a way of life

On May 3, 2016, Hydro opened a new line in Neuss, Germany, to recycle aluminium cans. Europeans recycle 30 billion aluminium cans each year, and Hydro's new line will take in more than 10 percent of these.Photo: Hydro/Michael Rennertz

Think “recycling.” What comes to mind? Probably an aluminium can, and that’s good. But recycling is so much more.

Aluminium can be recycled indefinitely without losing quality, and requires just 5 percent of the energy needed for primary aluminium production.

Because energy use is behind the emissions blamed for global warming, using less energy is critical. Although almost all electricity in Norway is from clean, renewable hydropower, that is not the case in the rest of the world.

Read about our UBC (used beverage cans) recycling line in Germany, and how we are able to remelt 3.3 billion aluminium cans a year into new cans.

An aluminium can with big text sayin I'll be back

Recycling is very important to sustainable development. It allows resources to be saved and waste to be reduced. Photo: Hydro

Our activities, such as alumina refining and primary aluminium production, use a lot of electricity, but aluminium can save significant amounts of energy and climate emissions during the life-span of products.

Aluminium façades can lead to lower operating costs and enable buildings to produce as much energy as they consume during operation.

Products and packaging in aluminium – yes, those aluminium cans again – reduce transport costs and emissions.

Fuel savings from cars and other vehicles using aluminium instead of steel mean fewer climate emissions.

In order to close the current gap between emissions and benefits, we are pursuing three major efforts:

Increasing hydropower based production in Norway.

Increasing our recycling of post-consumer scrap, and providing more metal for the automotive industry.

Hydro’s ambition is to be carbon neutral in a life-cycle perspective by 2020. Carbon neutrality can be defined in many ways, and our definition is the balance between the direct and indirect emissions from our own operations, and the savings of applying our metal in the use phase.

Read why cars is about to make the automotive industry the most important global market for aluminum.

By taking the life-cycle perspective of our production, we are aiming at our activities to contribute to reducing total greenhouse gas emissions globally. For Hydro, it’s a way of life.

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