Amazing Aluminium

Aluminium is amazing! It's so versatile. Find out all about how amazing aluminium is in our amazing series, Amazing Aluminium!

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Amazing Aluminium – A Millennia of Recycling

We know recycling is super important. It’s easy to think that it’s something quite new – but it’s actually something that’s been going on for a VERY long time…

Did you know the iron and bronze used to create the Colossus of Rhodes in 282 BC – over two THOUSAND years ago, was made from recycled weapons which were melted down.

Even copper chisels used to build the pyramids were melted and reformed when they became too blunt.

pyramid of giza egypt during daytime

And when it comes to glass, we can trace recycling to the Romans. They figured out that glass objects could be melted down and re-made into new things, which is handy as glass doesn’t decompose.

In fact, fragments of Roman glass were recycled all over Europe in the centuries that followed. We could even recycle them today into new glass objects!

Colosseum under white clouds during daytime

When you think that the first glass bottle banks only started appearing around 50 years ago, you can see how the Romans were really ahead of the game in recycling!

There’s another material we use today that’s been recycled for centuries…

And that’s paper! As you know, it’s used for all sort of things – from books, magazines and the note pads you use in school to, well, the toilet paper in our bathrooms.

Paper has always been seen as a precious resource. Recycling it isn’t a particularly complicated process.  You could even recycle the paper you use right at home – blending it into pulp with water and squashing into new sheets.

Because recycling saves money and resources, it’s something that comes into its own when times are hard.      During the second world war, there was a massive need for metal to build planes, boats and weapons, so recycling became not just sensible but vital. The planes themselves would even be recycled – as they are today.  And it wasn’t just metals that were needed – cooking fat was collected and recycled to make explosives.

three monoplanes squadron in World War 2

So as you can see, recycling in some shape or form has been with us for a long time. There’s a material that recycles brilliantly!  It’s called aluminium, and amazingly, 75% of all the aluminium ever made is still in use today.

Aluminium is super versatile.  All that recycled aluminium can be used not just for more drink cans – but for everything from planes to mobile phones.

It’s important and easy to recycle. If we don’t recycle, these used materials can become landfill and then we need more raw materials to make new products. There are many materials you can recycle, including aluminium, paper and card, plastics, glass and even food waste, which can be composted and used again to fertilise crops or generate electricity.

Remarkable Reasons to Recycle include:

  • We need to extract fewer raw materials from the ground, which can help conserve natural resources and protect habitats and wildlife.
  • It uses less energy: recycling can reduce our contribution to climate change and global warming.
  • It reduces waste, so less landfill space is required.
  • It can reduce pollution.
  • It can create local jobs.

Why not have a look around your home and see what you can find that can be recycled?

Click here for some amazing free aluminium education resources!

And remember to always recycle your aluminium – whether a drink can or foil tray, foil wrapping or bottle cap – always put your aluminium into your recycling. After all, aluminium is infinitely recyclable.

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Amazing Aluminium

Aluminium is amazing! It's so versatile. Find out all about how amazing aluminium is in our amazing series, Amazing Aluminium!

More From Amazing Aluminium