Free Aluminium Recycling Research Paper Example
Description of the waste management issue
Waste can be defined as anything that has been used and is of no more use to the owner. So many things can turn into waste thus, the need for waste management. This is the responsible usage, storage, treatment and disposal of waste. There are many different kinds of waste. There are agricultural wastes, there are municipal wastes such as those from homes and schools and there are special wastes from the hospitals.
The way waste is being handled has become a problem to many around the world and thus there have been calls for responsible waste management techniques. Due to the fact that waste is a part of the human life, it is essential that a way is devised to live responsibly with it to ensure that it does not end up causing harm to the human population. This paper is going to discuss the problem of aluminium as a waste issue and the measures taken to ensure that it does not cause harm.
Aluminium is a light-silvery grey metal that falls 13th on the chemical elements chat which is also referred to as the periodic table. It is characterised by being a metal that does not rust even though it gets exposed to the components that make other metals to rust easily. The abundance of aluminium in the earth’s crust has made it a favourite for the human population to use. It is sometimes referred to as metallic electricity due to its conductivity levels with electricity. Aluminium (Al) is a non magnetic metal. This is unlike other metals that are characterised with being strongly magnetic.
History of the waste management issue
Aluminium recycling is the process by which scrap aluminium gets melted and redefined to make new aluminium cans or any other aluminium product. The recycling process of aluminium consumes less energy compared to the manufacturing process. The history of recycling dates back to the early years when there were not enough resources to make the kind of recycling plants we have now. Back then, papers were recycled and used as wrapping bags for different kinds of goods. Although it may seem that plastics are readily used where aluminium was once used, the truth of the matter is that aluminium cans are still used in large numbers. The fact of the matter is that aluminium takes so much time to make. It also consumes a lot of energy compared to plastics and glass.
The increase in the need for appropriate storage material for the growing soft drinks industry led to the discovery of aluminium as a good storage unit. It was also found to be very light and could serve the purpose of other metal thus, the use of it in the places that demanded appropriate lightweight material for the purpose of metals. Its conductivity helped in the easy transfer of electricity without the bulkiness of steel and other metals.
Aluminium can be found in a variety of places. These can be the fresh fruits and vegetables that are taken by humans. Meat also has very little amount of aluminium due to the exposure of the animals to the places where aluminium can be found. Some processed foods also contain very minimal amounts of aluminium.
It is true that aluminium is in the air, but very few people get exposed to aluminium through the air they breathe. This is because the amount of aluminium that stays in the air after it has been washed by the rain is very small. Some cosmetic products and pharmaceutical products have been found to contain small amounts of aluminium. This is not harmful to the human body. Most of the aluminium that gets its way into the human body leaves it through excretion. This ensures that the aluminium does not collect into the body and cause harm to the body. Small amounts of aluminium are harmless but when the amounts exceed the milligram’s allowed, then it becomes a threat to the body.
The process of aluminium recycling started in the early 1900s. It was largely used in the 2nd world war. Though the recycling of aluminium was not very popular, it came into the public knowledge in the late 1960s. This happened due to the growing popularity of the use of aluminium in making beverage cans. (Cherubinni et al, 2120)This use of aluminium to make beverage cans finally awakened the human interest in the recycling of aluminium cans. Aluminium can be recycled for eternity but still produce the same product that could have been produced by new no recycled aluminium. The most common places where aluminium has been used are places where there is need for durable light weight metals or where thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity is concerned. Such places include; saucepans, computers, aircrafts, and many other products.
Necessity for and benefit of management of this waste
The use of aluminium increased over the years with the increase and advancement of technology. New ways were being found for the use of aluminium. The increase in the manufacture of dinks using aluminium also made a great impact on the rate at which aluminium was being used in the society. The main reason for its growing use was the fact that it was easily recycled. This made it easier and cost effective for manufactures who wanted to save costs using this product. Many people also begun to trust aluminium because it was ascertained that it could not rust, thus there was no risk of their favourite beverages being contaminated.
Even though there is a steady increase in the use of plastics, aluminium still remains the favourite of many and its use is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. This is because of its availability and easy maintenance. (McDaugall et al, 005) Many people argue that it is also cost effective and that it can be reused in many ways even if it is not taken to the recycling company. Te fact that it loses none of its components during the recycling process is an added advantage for its growth. This has helped in assuring the users of aluminium of its security and durability. Aluminium is found mixed in the air with other compounds, it can therefore not be retrieved off the air but when it rains, it is washed by the rain waters and thus it finds itself on the earth surface.
Though aluminium has proven to be beneficial in a variety of ways, it is also harmful to the human body. (White et al, 023)The harm caused by aluminium waste can be fatal depending on the age, sex, or the duration of time one stays in contact with the substance. Aluminium can be found in different places such as on rocks, near rivers, in the air and many different places as well. Aluminium is found to be responsible for lung problems for many workers who work in factories where there is a large amount of dust.
The easy way to reduce the risk of inhaling aluminium in such places is the use of breathing masks. It has also been found that aluminium brings abnormalities in the nervous system of an individual who inhales large amounts of aluminium. Aluminium can cause further complications on patients with a kidney problem. This is because the failure of the kidney gives way to the storage of aluminium that could have otherwise been removed in the urine. Though many questions remain unanswered concerning the effects of aluminium waste it is true that it is very harmful to the human body. If this is not done the number of persons getting affected by the inhalation of aluminium that can be avoided will be on the rise and this poses a very big health threat.
The reuse or recycling of aluminium waste has proven to have challenges over the last few years. Researchers have found out that there is a greater need to advance the machines used in the process of recycling aluminium waste. They argue that most of the recycled aluminium has a lot of impurities amounting from its last use. These impurities include paint and other labels that were on the aluminium product being recycled. The fact that aluminium does not decompose even after 500 years makes it necessary for the recycling of the product.
The researchers argue that even though there are other aluminium products that do not require a high level of purity, there are those products such as the ones used in aircrafts that require a high level of purity to be able to function effectively. The researchers argue that even though this is not an immediate need, it will soon become essential for companies using aluminium to have a recycling plant that will also consider the purity of the end product. This purity level might end up having a negative impact on the aluminium industry thus the need to put in place measures to ensure the purity of products after recycling.
Agencies, associations and organizations
In the year 2011, the EU council regulation was enforced. It gave a criterion of determining waste metals in the categories of steel, iron and aluminium. This end of waste programme was intended at ensuring that all the companies that were recycling waste were monitored to ensure that they followed the right criteria. At first the stakeholders thought that this legislation would negatively affect the business of scrap metals in the EU but this has not been the case.
There is also a legislation that targets the aluminium industry. This legislation is aimed at ensuring that the aluminium products that are used as packaging for consumables are safe for use by the human beings. The aluminium industry has welcomed this move and has also put in place measures to ensure that there is less littering of aluminium packages (Rigamonti et al, 2570). They have even gone ahead to put measures in place to ensure that the products used in the aluminium industry are safe for human usage.
After the processing of aluminium, several materials can be extracted from the waste it leaves behind. These are; uranium, radium and theorium. These are very dangerous products in found in large amounts. They can be used in the making of radioactive technology. Thou, these are not the only end products found after the processing of aluminium. Some other products include, sodium, calcium, aluminium and different other products.
There are many benefits of managing aluminium waste, these are; the fact that aluminium is easy to convert into a new product and that it is cost effective. This helps in saving a lot of resources that are directed to other duties. Aluminium waste recycling saves a lot of energy that is directed into other industrial uses. Empty aluminium cans generate a total of $ 800 million every year and this money is used in charitable organizations and different school projects that are beneficial to the community. This revenue has helped in the development of different projects in the community which would otherwise have not happened due to the lack of resources.
Aluminium is highly valuable even in its recycling state, thus it provides a place of employment for many individuals (Laurent et al, 596). Aluminium waste management reduces the amount of waste that ends up in the landfills. This is beneficial to the community as a whole because it ensures the cleanliness of the environment. Unlike in the management of the plastics, you do not need to scrub the aluminium clean and remove the labels during the recycling process. The head that is used during the recycling process is enough to remove all contaminants.
The United States environmental protection agency has taken upon itself the responsibility to oversee a variety of issues related to recycling of waste such as that of aluminium. These responsibilities include the regulation of the rules concerning hazardous waste, the regulation of rules concerning landfill and setting of recycling goals. Further regulation has been left to the state governments to implement their own rules concerning waste management. There are many interested groups of people from different walks of life who have shown their participation in the management of aluminium waste.
Current waste management practises
(Wilson et al, 799)Some of these are non profit organizations that are more interested in the livelihood of the citizens and their safety. Many business persons have also shown interest in this lucrative industry by developing ways of cashing in on the profits the industry has to offer. There are people who have developed the trend of helping others with information on the safe ways of disposing waste such as that of aluminium.
The management procedure for aluminium is a complicated yet energy saving one. The aluminium waste is collected in the midst of other waste and taken to the recycling plant after the sorting process. Here energy is applied to melt down the used aluminium and create a new product that is also aluminium. It is estimated that 80,000,000,000 cans of aluminium are used every year. And this number is also all recyclable.
There is a very big improvement in the management of aluminium waste compared to when this practise started in the 19th century. Many recycling farms have come up to ensure that the used aluminium is not thrown into the pit and left there but is recycled and reused as new and different other aluminium products.
The end product that is found after the recycling of aluminium is very marketable. This is due to the fact that aluminium has some components that other metals do not have. These components can also be found in the recycled aluminium making it a favourite to many people. This end product earns the economy millions of dollars every year and they are also helpful in the maintenance of the environmental cleaning programme. The aluminium cans are easy to spot thus they can be easily retrieved for the recycling process. Though the process can be difficult in a situation whereby the aluminium products are mixed together with other different types of waste.
Directions for the future
The fact that the management of aluminium waste is cost effective has made is the fast choice for many companies. It is estimated that come 2020, it will be the most widely used metal in the world. This gives greater hope to those who are in the industry (Pires et al, 1042). They will be able to cash in on the market that will be readily available for many. Measures should be taken to ensure that during the recycling process, lives of those working with this product are not endangered.
Proper measures should also be put in place to ensure that the end product after the recycling process is safe for use by the consumers. The future is bright for the aluminium industry but measures should be put in place to help in the growth of this industry. The aluminium waste industry and the use of aluminium products have a promising future. This will only be achieved if the right guidelines are put in place to control the way it is being operated.
Proper mechanism should be put in place to ensure that the future processing of aluminium stays bright. It should also be possible for aluminium manufactures to cash in on the product more than they are doing now. This will help in generating more income for the country that can help in benefitting different projects.
It is essential for the human population to be made aware of the processes undertaken to ensure that the aluminium waste is not a problem in the society. This will ensure that there is participation from consumers in the safe disposal of the products to aid in easier collection and eventual recycle of the waste.(Gidarakos et al, 671) Caution should also be taken to ensure that the recycling process of aluminium waste does not become a threat to the environment. Such issues are very important to ensure that there is safety for all in the process of management of aluminium waste. Property management and responsibility in the industry will ensure growth for the industry as a whole.
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McDougall, Forbes R., et al. , 2008 Integrated solid waste management: a life cycle inventory. John Wiley & Sons.12.2:001-056
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