What Are The Sustainability Advantages Of Aluminum?
When you run your own business (or are responsible for the purchasing decisions of a company), it’s tempting to ignore concepts like sustainability and just focus on profit. But in the 21st century, there are plenty of reasons for paying attention to the sustainability of your business. This is one of the reasons why aluminum alloys are gaining in popularity around the world.
Aluminum offers many sustainability advantages. With the way more and more brands are looking for sustainable solutions in order to streamline their business operations and promote their environmentally friendly practices, it’s natural that they would consider aluminum. In many instances they’ll be able to save money as well.
Today we’ll be looking at some of the ways innovative companies are using aluminum to both increase their sustainability and improve their bottom line.
Aluminum is one of the best lightweight options
Being lightweight doesn’t mean aluminum lacks strength. In fact, aluminum is recognized as one of the metals with the highest strength to weight ratios available. So why is that such an advantage for businesses?
The logistics of any business accounts for more of your budget than might be immediately obvious. Anytime you can reduce the expenses associated with a repeatable action or activity, even if it’s just a few pennies at a time, the savings quickly add up. This is especially true when it comes to shipping costs.
If you can reduce the weight of the items you’re shipping, whether it’s the raw materials being sent to your production facility, or the final products on the way to your customers, you’ll save money for yourself while making your products more appealing and cost effective for your clients. That’s one of the major benefits of working with aluminum.
For example, the automobile industry has been utilizing an increasing amount of aluminum over the past several decades. This is not only because of the reduced shipping costs we just mentioned, but also due to the requirements of fuel efficiency regulations. The lighter weight a vehicle is, the less fuel it will consume, so using lightweight materials such as aluminum makes sense.
Other industries where being lightweight plays a major factor include aerospace, food & beverage, electronics and shipping. Even if it might not be immediately apparent, any industry can benefit from aluminum’s light weight.
Recycling really makes a difference
Another major benefit of aluminum is the fact that it’s 100% recyclable, so much so that 75% of all the aluminum that has ever been produced in the United States is still being used today. Not only that, but recycled aluminum requires only 5% of the energy to produce it as compared with smelting aluminum from bauxite. Any business that can build aluminum recycling into their production process stands to gain. (https://www.marck.net/facts-about-recycling-aluminum/)
Recycling can factor into your business in several ways. If you’re working with aluminum as part of your production, you’ll invariably need to shape, cut or shear the material, which will likely involve at least some amount of waste in the form of scrap. When you use aluminum, all that material can be recycled, either by reincorporating it yourself or selling it to a scrap metal recycling business.
Moreover, once your product is in the hands of your customer, that aluminum will still be recyclable. This not only adds to the resale value of the product, but also increases its overall sustainability, which in and of itself is often appealing to the market.
Aluminum can reduce your carbon footprint
Knowing your carbon footprint has become an important consideration in the 21st century, and that’s another reason why aluminum is such a good option among materials. As previously mentioned, because aluminum is so lightweight, you’ll burn less fuel when shipping your products. A product’s carbon footprint also includes emissions released while producing your raw materials, even before they end up in your facility.
Thanks to modern advances, aluminum production has reduced its carbon footprint by 40% since 1995, and the amount of energy required is down by 25%. Compared to steel, aluminum requires 20 percent less energy consumption during transportation over its life cycle. (https://www.aluminum.org/aluminum-sustainability)
There are plenty of other ways that aluminum contributes to sustainability as well. In building and architecture, aluminum surfaces are efficient in reflecting sunlight. This allows buildings to reduce their cooling costs, helping to save both money and carbon emissions. This reflective property also makes aluminum ideal for boosting the efficiency of solar cells
The list of industries that can benefit from aluminum’s sustainability advantages is a long one. That’s why we often get asked which alloy offers the most environmentally friendly merits. The answer is whichever alloy is best suited for your application. This is because when you choose the right materials, you are likely to create products more efficiently and that will last longer.
Durability is one of the most important features of sustainability. The longer a product lasts, the more it reduces your carbon footprint. The ability to fully recycle a product after disposal increases its sustainability quotient.
Work with a technical services professional
As sustainable as aluminum products are, developers and engineers are constantly making new advances thanks to the proliferation of new alloys and applications. Today’s aluminum products are more durable, adaptable and environmentally sustainable than ever before, while remaining one of the most cost effective options available on the market. It makes sense to work with a material supplier that truly understands all the benefits of aluminum.
At Clinton Aluminum, our mission is to help our clients find the right material for every job. Our team prides itself on working closely with you through every step of the procurement process. Contact us today to speak with one of our friendly customer service representatives and learn more about which aluminum alloy makes sense for you.