A new report by the Aluminum Association (AA) has indicated positive environmental trendlines for the US aluminum industry over the past 25 years.
The report titled “Aluminum Industry Sector Snapshot,” which was released on the last day of the association’s virtual Spring Meeting on Apr 15 focuses on seven key environmental factors, air, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, land management, water, waste and aluminum scrap usage.
The report noted that the US aluminum industry has reduced its impact on almost all these areas since the 1990s, with the positive environmental trends being attributed to the industry’s improved performance and the transition towards using more recycled aluminum instead of relying heavily on primary metals.
Aluminum producers have reduced environmental impact, “while demand for the metal has grown by more than 25pc domestically,” Tom Dobbins, president and chief executive officer of AA said. “Aluminum is incredibly sustainable in the use phase – making cars and trucks more energy-efficient, buildings greener, and packaging more recyclable. But the industry is also firmly committed to doing what it can on the production side to reduce its impact.”
The report outlines the following key environmental milestones:
- Air: Total air emissions reported to the EPA for the aluminum sector decreased by 65 percent between 1996 and 2019.
- Energy: Energy usage in the sector dropped 55 percent between 1998 and 2018.
- GHG: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions declined by nearly 60 percent between 2005 and 2018.
- Land: Chemicals released to land are down more than 60 percent since peaks in the mid-2000s though remain slightly elevated from the mid-1990s.
- Waste: Hazardous waste generation dropped fully 93 percent between 2001 and 2019.
- Water: Listed chemicals discharged to surface water fell 84 percent from 1996 to 2019.
- Aluminum Scrap: Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturers increased their use of recycled aluminum scrap by more than 25 percent between 1993 and 2018.