New research from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s (WPI) Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling confirms an overall recycling rate of 91% for automotive aluminium.
The peer-reviewed study, funded by the Aluminum Association, examines how much aluminium used in the United States’ light-duty automotive sector is recovered and recycled from vehicles at end of life. This new study supports findings from earlier third-party government and auto industry reports to confirm aluminium is the most sustainable choice for the environment.
“We set out to detail exactly how aluminium is separated and recovered at the end of a vehicle’s service life and findings show it is highly recyclable and is recovered and reused at very high rates,” said Professor Diran Apelian, founding director of WPI’s Metal Processing Institute, which is home of the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling. “With an eye toward reducing the nation’s energy consumption, lowering carbon emissions and increasing fuel economy, this study confirms that as aluminium use continues to grow in the automotive sector it also enhances energy security and environmental protections.”
The new study, Automotive Aluminum Recycling at End of Life: A Grave-to-Gate Analysis, details a “grave-to-gate” analysis, which spans the moment an automobile becomes obsolete to the moment the aluminium metal units are completely recycled and enter back into life as input material for new applications, including vehicles. Researchers attribute automotive aluminium’s high recycling rate to the metal’s economic value, citing the “concerted effort to recover this valuable lightweight commodity from end-of-life vehicles.”