One aluminum can

It is important to recycle, and this is especially true for aluminum which is easy to recycle.  Aluminum can be recycled again and again without any degradation in quality.   Making new aluminum cans from used cans takes 95 percent less energy than using virgin materials Aluminum cansaccording to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The Aluminum Association estimates that the energy saved in recycling an aluminum can could power a TV for 3 hours.  I did the calculation according to my TV and found that my TV could be powered for 2.7 hours with the energy saved by recycling 1 aluminum can.  Just 1 can.  These 10 sources all agree on the environmental benefits of recycling aluminum.

I also watched this video to learn about recycling aluminum.  Recycled cans are cut into small pieces, cleaned, melted, processed to remove impurities, and formed into rods or slabs to be processed into a new can (or bike, airplane, gutter, or aluminum foil).

A note about aluminum cans and camping:  Aluminum has a high melting point—1,220ºF, to be exact.  Sources vary, but the middle estimate of bonfire temperature is 1300ºF.  When a can is burned, aluminum oxide is formed.  Compare this to burning wood which forms carbon dioxide and water.  Carbon dioxide and water are not directly harmful to people.  However, research shows that aluminum oxide which is a heavy metal, can do far more damage to human beings than once thought.  This includes causing headaches and negative effect on the heart/ lungs.  Bottom line- there’s better uses for aluminum rather than campfire fuel.


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