The aluminum industry was highlighted in the 2014 edition of the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook as a case study in how industrial efficiency efforts can have a positive impact on the environment. Bloomberg New Energy Finance worked in conjunction with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) on the Factbook, which serves as a resource for media, lawmakers, regulators, NGOs and others providing up-to-date market intelligence on renewable energy efforts.
This is the second year in a row the aluminum industry was featured in the factbook to highlight how manufacturing industries can take positive steps to drive sustainability. The section on aluminum, which begins on page 91 of the report, highlights how industry efforts on recycling and secondary production minimize aluminum’s environmental footprint. Aluminum is an ideal material for recycling and the secondary process because the metal can be recycled over and over again, without any loss in quality.
Because of this, recycling is key to continued improvements in industry energy efficiency. Around 66 percent of the U.S. aluminum production in 2012 came from recycled aluminum – either post-consumer or industrial scrap. Producing recycled aluminum saves more than 90 percent of the energy involved with making virgin aluminum.
But recycling isn’t the only way aluminum can reduce its carbon footprint. Aluminum can also improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles through light-weighting, increase energy efficiency in buildings and limit carbon footprint of consumer goods like beverage containers.