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Aluminium industry committed to resource efficiency
Brussels, 20 September 2011: The European Aluminium Association (EAA) welcomes the European Commission‘s Resource Efficiency Road Map and highlights the properties of aluminium that can significantly contribute to achieve its objectives, namely endless recyclability, life-cycle perspective, and efficiency in the use phase.
“The aluminium industry has always encouraged EU decision-makers to address the critical issue of metals recycling, which is essential to preserve scarce resources of raw materials and reduce water consumption and CO2 emissions,” said Patrick de Schrynmakers, EAA Secretary General.
“In addition to saving up to 95% energy and greenhouse gas emissions compared to primary production, aluminium has the great advantage of being infinitely recyclable without a corresponding loss in quality”. Aluminium has impressive recycling rates of over 90% in transport and building applications and more than 55% in packaging, up to over 90% in some countries for beverage cans.
The EAA also welcomes the proposal to establish a common methodological approach to display and benchmark the environmental performance of products over their life-cycle (‘environmental footprint’). However, EAA strongly encourages the EU institutions to use the right parameters when assessing the environmental performance of products. In particular, recycled content cannot today be considered as a relevant indicator to predict which product will be most recyclable in the future. Rather it is necessary to look into the end-of-life recycling pha se, in order to see the complete picture of the whole product lifecycle.
This is especially true for aluminium which has the advantage of having a very long life-cycle – between 10 and 20 years in transport and between 50 to 80 years in buildings. Currently about 700 million tonnes – more than 70% of the aluminium that has ever been produced – is still in use.
The EAA also calls for a sound understanding of the different value chains as a sine qua non condition to any effective resource efficiency policy and for policy options adapted to the needs and challenges.
The aluminium industry is able to show its impressive contribution to resource efficiency – more than offsetting the consumption of raw materials and energy needed for its primary production -. during its use phase. Aluminium is a light material which helps reduce weight in all transport applications, thus contributing to reduced fuel consumption. Additionally, aluminium also allows for lightweight construction and energy efficient solutions in buildings. Due to its unique properties as an efficient barrier for air and light, a minimal amount of aluminium is sufficient to pack valuable foodstuffs and drinks and helps to prevent food spoilage.
About European Aluminium Association:
The European Aluminum Association, founded in 1981, represents the European aluminum industry from alumina and primary production to semi-finished and end-use products, through to recycling. The European aluminum industry directly employs about 255,000 people.
EAA Press Office c/o Grayling
Avenue des Arts 46
1000 Brussels Belgium
Tel +32 (0)2 738 17 82