Recycling aluminum uses about 95% less energy than making new one from bauxite ore, which compares very favorably with other types of recycling. For example, recycled plastic requires 70% less energy and paper uses about 40% less. The fact that recycling it saves so much energy combined with the fact that it can be recycled almost an infinite number of times mean that it possible to imagine a day when we don’t even have to make new, energy-intensive aluminum anymore.
Two hundred years ago, no-one knew aluminium existed. Today it is everywhere – in cans, window frames, packaging, even car bodies. New uses for it are constantly being discovered – but it’s possible that one day we’ll be able to stop mining the ore, and rely completely on recycling. Aluminium has a split personality.