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How Are Aluminum Cans Recycled?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Has anyone ever wanted to know what actually happens after you drop off your aluminum cans to be recycled? My parents used to play a trick on me, saying that they just banged out the dents on the can, filled it with more Pepsi and then put it right back on the shelf.

Here's what really happens.

Once you drop off your cans at your local recycling pick up spot, they are transported to a "can hub", or scrap processing company. This scrap company crunches the aluminum cans like cars at a junkyard. You know those bad jokes you see on those bad comedy movies where somebody goes to sleep in their car, gets their car towed, and they wake up right before the huge metal plates crush their car into a big metal rectangle? That's what the scrap companies do to all your cans -- crunch them into big aluminum rectangles. They then ship these huge aluminum can bricks to aluminum companies.

The aluminum companies will then shred the old cans, stripping them of all the lovely paint and color put on them by Cocca-Coca, Sunkist, Pepsi, Monster, Red Bull, and all your other favorite companies. After they burn off all of these decorations, they are cut into small strips and put into a melting furnace!

The old aluminum is then combined in the melting pot with new aluminum, and poured out into siphons, and the liquid aluminum rolls into a flattening table, which will flatten the metal into very thin individual sheets.

These incredibly thin aluminum sheets are then shipped to can makers, who turn it back into cans! Then the new cans go right back to the beverage companies like Pepsi, who put all the lovely drawings that were just burned off right back on.

These new cans are filled with the sweet tasting sugary goodness that you gobble up too often, and returned to shelves. This whole process takes about 60 days. Interesting, isn't it?

Go green!


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