Every time I see an aluminium can in the garbage I cringe. In my opinion, it should be illegal to throw them away.
I did some research and found that recycling aluminium is a very simple process which uses 95% less electricity than making it from scratch.
To put that in perspective, recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to light one 100 watt light bulb for 20 hours or power one laptop for over 5 hours.
There are other environmental issues that make recycling aluminium a much better idea.
Making aluminium from the raw material called bauxite requires lots of cheap electricity so aluminium plants have large hydroelectric dams close by. These dams cause major damage to the natural flow of rivers.
Fluoride is the main chemical used in making aluminium. The process results in several toxic left overs that contain fluoride. These may be released into the environment, usually as gases into the air. In countries with poor regulations and reporting laws, there can be considerable health problems for workers and pollution in the environment. This has been documented in several places.
Aluminium is made in many parts of the world. China is the largest producer.
Aluminium can be recycled over and over again. A recycled can may become another aluminium can within 60 days.
According to Wikipedia, Brazil recycles the most at 98% of its aluminium cans. The US recycled 31%.
If it is not recycled, an aluminium can will take 500 years to break down.
Recycling aluminium is easy and so environmentally friendly, it should be illegal to throw aluminium cans away.
So if you see any, be sure to get them to the Recycling Centre.