Aluminium is valuable at every stage of its life cycle, from production through to end of use. It can be endlessly recycled while keeping material properties. Recycling aluminium requires about 5% of the energy needed to produce it from virgin materials, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 95%. Using recycled aluminium reduces the need for primary aluminium and therefore minimizes waste, avoids resource depletion, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions across a product’s life cycle.
Constellium is an industry leader in the sustainable production and recycling of aluminium products. We produce aluminium out of recycled metal and we purchase primary metal to transform into semi-finished products. These are converted into finished products that can be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Did you know? More than 90% of aluminium contained in a scrapped vehicle is recycled.
There are two key sources of recycled aluminium:
- end-of-life scrap metal, which has already been used and disposed of
- process scrap metal, produced during the manufacturing process
Though process scrap is always recycled and retained in the manufacturing loop, only end-of-life recycling reduces the need for primary metal and lowers the environmental impact of a product.
We believe the ONLY way to improve the CO2 footprint of aluminium products through recycling is to increase end-of-life recycling through programs with industry and relevant organizations.
The misleading concept of “recycled content”: Some industry players refer to “recycled content,” or the amount of recycled aluminium in a product, as an indication of how environmentally friendly that product is. As for aluminium is concerned, we find this metric to be misleading, because it often fails to distinguish between end-of-life and process scrap, and can nurture inefficiencies in production. Moreover, there is only a limited amount of recycled aluminium available globally, so increasing recycled material in one product line can remove it from others and offers no actual benefit for the environment.
Our Recycling Targets & Priorities
- 80% beverage can recycling rate in Europe by 2020
- Work within the industry and with our stakeholders to increase the beverage can recycling rate in the US
- Improving scrap collection rate in collaboration with key stakeholders
- Improving sorting through partnerships
- Creating better and more efficient closed loops
- Improving our own recycling processes, including the development of new and more scrap-tolerant alloys
Joint Recycling Programs
We believe we can further improve recycling through partnerships with relevant stakeholders including customers, associations, and research centers. By collaborating to improve scrap collection and sorting, players from across the industry can foster best practices for maximum results.
We are a founding member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) that works to establish and promote an industry standard for the responsible production and use of aluminium across the value chain. In particular, in the Material Stewardship Principle, it focuses on the collection and recycling at the end of their life cycle. As part of the standards committee, we are participating in finalizing the standard for subsequent certification.
We actively support Every Can Counts®, a Beverage Can Makers Europe (BCME) initiative to boost beverage can recycling rates in Europe. We work with the BCME on a communication and collection program, encouraging people to recycle cans they use outside the home.
In partnership with Metal Packaging Europe, we advocate for metals to be classified as permanent materials, and for the use of relevant recycling metrics.
We work with local organizations such as France Aluminium Recyclage, the UK-based Alupro, and Germany’s GDA to develop and stimulate collection infrastructure in each market.