Different sources of aluminum have different carbon footprints. We should know what they are.
Just 1 remark: There can never be 100% recycled Alu for all Alu products - why:
- some Alu will intentionally stay at the place there it's used; (and thats good, better than re-use, btw)
- there are losses in the recycling chain; may be just 5%, still, that alone would add 0.4 tons/ton
- nobody can just claim that "he is using" recycled Alu only; why not? Because, there will not be enough of this stuff, the bottleneck is not using it, the bottleneck is the Alu-return-fraction; or: using add. recycled Alu is always just taking it away from someone, who has used it anyhow (before you do).
- so what? For Alu, just use the mixed emission factor of all Alu used in your country.
Great article Lloyd!
Thanks for this article. I teach a class on Sustainability: An Ecosystem Perspective, and the second part of the course involves an assignment on embodied energy, a concept that some of the students struggle to understand. Yet its importance grows as we switch to alternative energy sources. This article on aluminum will become required reading for the next iteration of the class. It provides an excellent case study, written well, that gets at the heart of what I want the students to learn: Alternatives still have costs, even if in use these new technologies waste less, and sometimes those costs are higher than embodied in what they replace.