Over 50 years ago, Wisconsin politician and devout conservationist Gaylord Nelson led the charge in what came to be known as Earth Day. Today, it's become the biggest mass civic observance in the world, with more than 1 billion people in 192 countries participating. Each Earth Day brings along with it a theme, and for 2021, it's “Restore the Earth,” focusing on emerging green technologies and innovative thinking to contribute to ecosystem restoration. As a business, JW Aluminum recently invested in major technology upgrades at our largest facility in South Carolina, implementing best-in-class emissions controls resulting in a reduced carbon footprint compared to competing technologies.
As individuals, Earth Day marks a time for all of us to take a step back and evaluate how we are treating the planet, as well as the steps we can all take to move toward greener practices. And while it may seem overwhelming and out of our individual reach, we can all do our part to make a difference. With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to choose infinitely recyclable solutions like aluminum.
Why aluminum? It can be recycled over and over again, without losing any of its physical properties. Aluminum is lightweight, corrosion resistant, malleable yet strong and used for everything from airplane and automotive components to food and pharmaceutical packaging. From a general consumer perspective, recycling aluminum is a great and relatively easy way to promote sustainability. According to the Aluminum Association, consumers already recycle more aluminum cans than any other beverage container, and when you do recycle, an aluminum can can be reprocessed and be back on a shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days! Talk about a circular economy!
Even though aluminum cans are recycled more than other beverage containers, we have a huge opportunity to recycle even more aluminum cans. A little less than half of all aluminum cans sold each year — in the United States and worldwide — are recycled and turned into new aluminum cans and other products. If we did recycle all of our aluminum cans, we'd save enough energy to power four million homes for a year!
The task at hand is to recycle as much as possible and commit to sustainability, and there are few materials better suited to accomplish these goals than aluminum. So this Earth Day, we urge everyone to recycle aluminum more. This small act done consistently has the power to move us toward a much greener closed loop economy. And it's something we can all do every day. After all, "The Earth is What We All Have In Common" — Wendell Berry, award-winning author and environmental activist.