Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recycling Aluminum Cans: Saving Atmospheric Pollution

According to Planet Ark's recycling fact sheet for Aluminum, recycling 1kg of Aluminum saves 20kg of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) because of the processes (e.g. extraction) that are eliminated. They go on to say that "around" one billion alumnium cans go to landfill annually in Australia

A empty Aluminum beverage can of 375ml (standard can size) weighs 16 grams.

IF those cans were to be recycled instead...

1,000,000,000 cans @ 16g each
= 16,000,000,000g

=16,000 Tonnes (of cans)

X 20 (Green House Gas)

= 320,000 Tonnes of GHG

‎...if 320,000 Tonnes represented petroleum for cars it would be equal to using 139,130 Liters (2.3kg per litre tailpipe emissions), or 1,252,170Km @ a 9Km/L fuel economy which is equal to traveling 3,430km's per day for a year.

This equals 160 cars that each travel 20Km per day.

If we recycled the cans that currently are going to waste we would be cutting emissions down to the same level as that of taking 160 cars off the road.

Below are photographs I took of a NSW Roads and Traffic Authority car emission testing facility located in Western Sydney Australia. As you can see a vehicle has a hose attached to the vehicles exhaust pipe which analyzes the gases being emitted and a computer captures and records the information. If you look at the rear wheels you can see the two rails...this is to simulate a real driving experience accelerating and braking...not quite sure exactly the purpose of the fan at the front...

***PLEASE NOTE: The close up image of the computer display is not for the car shown in the picture***


  1. I'm cold, so I like green house gasses.

  2. anything to stop the world exploding!

  3. Great article, always recycle imo.

  4. Cans are good to recycle, but other things are not as cost efficient

  5. It's great to see this but cans can be expensive to recycle.