bauxite-aluminum.

“Every three months the U.S landfills enough aluminum cans to rebuild each of their commercial airplanes, four times over.”

I got a tour of the Raven Recycling plant yesterday, and this is what I was told. I believe it to be truth; a nasty truth at that. Bauxite mining is quite horrendous in practice. Aluminum can be recycled indefinitely; it does not degrade with reprocessing. ————-

According to Recycle Nation (2010), “Overall, the entire process of transforming raw bauxite into aluminum is incredibly energy intensive, requiring copious amounts of electricity, water and resources to produce (that is the main reason why power plants are built solely to support the aluminum industry). Since pure aluminum ore is so stable, an extraordinary amount of electricity is required to yield the final product and, at least in the U.S., half of the smelting energy consumed is courtesy of coal, one of the most notoriously polluting fuel sources known to mankind. The EPA says that the release of perfluorocarbons during the aluminum smelting process are 9,200 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of their affect on global warming. When bauxite is extracted from the earth, the strip-mining process removes all native vegetation in the mining region, resulting in a loss of habitat and food for local wildlife as well as significant soil erosion. The caustic red sludge and toxic mine tailings that remain are commonly deposited into excavated mine pits where they ultimately seep into aquifers, contaminating local water sources. Greenhouse gas emissions released during smelting and processing (which have been found to blanket surrounding regions with toxic vapors) include carbon dioxide, perfluorocarbons, sodium fluoride, sulfur dioxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon and a vast list of other problematic elements… recycling old aluminum consumes just 5% of the energy and releases a mere 5% of the greenhouse gases.”

 

 

Bauxite-aluminum, 2018.

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