Our recycling capabilities
Each of Constellium’s business units promotes sector-specific recycling processes and initiatives.
Aluminium recycling equipment
For aluminium to be fully reusable, the correct processes must be followed at every stage - from recovery to manufacturing.
Constellium possesses unique recovery and recycling capabilities and expertise, which are used in every domain.
Aerospace and Industry recycling capabilities
Given the significant environmental and economic benefits of recycling, we have launched a multitude of initiatives to support aluminium recycling in the aircraft industry.
In our Aerospace and Transportation plants, for example, scrap is collected by alloy type and recycled into the same alloy, keeping its properties and minimizing energy use. We have also extended this collection by alloy type to our customers, thus further enhancing the efficiency of the recycling process.
Constellium’s specialized recycling units and patented processes include tilting rotative and induction furnaces that maximize the recycling value of painted and machining chips. We have also developed a scrap recycling process for AIRWARE® alloys. New casting units for our AIRWARE® technology at Voreppe and Issoire (France) will feature state-of-the-art recycling systems.
Along with buy-back and tolling agreements with customers to recycle their scraps, we foster technical partnerships that help us segregate scraps better and achieve a high re-use rate in the aircraft industry.
We also recycle aluminium from aircraft no longer in service. Aluminium accounts for more than two-thirds of a modern commercial aircraft’s weight. This can be re-melted to make new aerospace parts. The PAMELA pilot project, coordinated by Airbus and supported by the European Union, demonstrated the viability of commercial aircraft recycling. A300 wings and cockpit parts were recycled at Constellium Issoire plant with a recovery yield of over 90%, resulting in new aluminium ready for use in future aircraft.
Packaging and Automotive Rolled Products recycling capabilities
Over the last few years, Constellium’s Packaging and Automotive Rolled Products business unit has significantly increased its recycling capacity, and now offers its customers a system in which material waste is greatly reduced.
In particular, our Neuf-Brisach (France) plant has become a state-of-the-art integrated rolling, finishing, collection and recycling facility. Over the last 10 years, it has more than doubled its recycling capacity, which includes processing internal and external scrap and end-of-life products from post-industrial and post-consumer use. Most of the scrap generated by the Ardagh Group’s plants, for example, is collected and recycled at Neuf-Brisach. A special focus was also made on efficient recycling of Used Beverage Cans, and large volumes of UBC’s from different parts in Europe are shipped to Neuf-Brisach and recycled into rolling slabs for packaging applications.
Constellium also works closely with dedicated organizations and associations, including the European Aluminium Association and Beverage Can Makers Europe, to promote and implement aluminium recycling.
Automotive Structures and Industry recycling capabilities
When it comes to extrusions and automotive structures, aluminium can be almost endlessly re-used.
Constellium’s extrusion plants collect internal scrap and separate it by alloy. This scrap is then re-melted, re-alloyed and cast as billets for extrusions - either at Constellium’s two own cast houses in Sierre (Switzerland) and Decin (Czech Republic), or at partner cast houses close to the respective extrusion plant. These are then supplied back to the plant of origin.
We also maintain several local agreements and partnerships to facilitate end-of-life recycling of extrusions. In Germany, Constellium is a member of the A/U/F initiative (Aluminium and environment in the window and curtain-walling industry). This association of leading extruders and system suppliers of aluminium profile sections aims to recycle used aluminium profile parts from windows, doors and wall sections in a financially viable way. This increases the proportion of environmentally friendly secondary aluminium used for construction purposes.
The high value of the aluminium content is a key incentive and major impetus for the recycling of end-of-life vehicles within our Automotive Structures business as well as the entire automotive industry.
Approximately 95% of the automotive aluminium is collected in Europe, recycled through an established process chain and generally re-used for automotive products. Aluminium recycling saves up to 95 % of the energy required for primary aluminium production, thereby avoiding corresponding emissions. Every kilogram of aluminium used in a mid size car as a substitute for other materials saves approximately 20 kg of CO2 within one product life (IFEU, Heidelberg, “Energy savings by light weighting – II, 2004).
As a result, our aluminium lightweight solutions offer sustainable options for society.