July 10

The aluminium sector is crucial in achieving Europe’s goals of a climate-neutral and circular economy. Aluminium is recyclable and suitable for multiple recycling.

Why recycle aluminium?

Aluminium can be recycled again and again without losing its original properties. The aluminium recycling process also requires only 5 % of the energy needed to produce primary aluminium, resulting in significant CO₂ savings. Recycling rates for aluminium are already among the highest of all materials. In Europe, recycling rates in the automotive and construction sectors are already over 90 %, while aluminium beverage cans today have a recycling rate of 76 %.

Forecasts for a sustainable future

Projections show that with the right policy framework, 50% of Europe’s aluminium demand could be met by recycled aluminium by mid-century. This could reduce CO₂ emissions from aluminium recycling by up to 39 million tonnes per year by 2050 compared to today, an annual CO₂ saving of 46%. This will be achieved mainly by replacing carbon-intensive primary aluminium imports from outside Europe with recycled domestic aluminium. By increasing recycling rates, Europe can also reduce its dependence on imports and hedge against supply disruptions.

Umweltbundesamt Dessau-Roßlau: Carbon Border adjustment in the EU (CBAM): Relevance of foreign trade and CO2 – Costs, 2020, https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/479/publikationen/uba_cbam_trade_and_co2-costs_for_products_en-gb_final_version.pdf (05.07.2023)

Umweltbundesamt Dessau-Roßlau: Aluminium Factsheet, 2019, https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/3521/dokumente/factsheet-aluminium_fi_barrierefrei.pdf (05.07.2023)

Statista GmbH: Produktion von Primär- und Sekundäraluminium in Deutschland in den Jahren 2011 bis 2021, https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/197960/umfrage/produktion-von-primaer-und-sekundaeraluminium-in-deutschland/ (05.07.2023)

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