06 Jul '11, 5pm

Recycling Is A Good Thing, Right? It Depends

One clear lesson from what we know about metals and energy is this: don't use aluminum when there are good alternatives. Recycled aluminum has drastically lower environmental impact than virgin aluminum (about one-sixth) -- so it seems like a no-brainer that recycled is the environmentally friendly choice over virgin. However, with aluminum, worldwide demand is so strong that there isn't enough recycled material to go around. Buying something with aluminum, even if it's recycled, only increases overall aluminum demand. Once that aluminum is out there, only 42% of it will end up back in the recycling loop. If you really need aluminum for whatever it is you're doing, choose recycled, but if the incredible properties of aluminum aren't vital for the product, another material may be a greener alternative. And once you use an aluminum product, recycle it!

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/07/recycling-is-a-go...

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