28 Jan 2015

Aluminum Bleachers are Another Example of a Highly-Recyclable Resource

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aluminum cans

Aluminum bleachers are generally made with 100% recycled materials.

Few people know this as they sit on aluminum bleachers and cheer on their local teams. But those shiny and sturdy grandstands are made with one of the most sustainable metals on Earth.

When it comes to saving the planet, aluminum is one great resource. According to The Aluminum Association, using recycled aluminum saves more than 90% of the energy it takes to make something new out of raw aluminum ore.

Ninety percent. That’s a phenomenal figure. That means all those soda and beer cans that go into recycling bins get to be used as products again, but require only one-tenth the energy to create. Compare that to all the mining, smelting and processing required to manufacture new aluminum products. It’s a very significant savings for one of the most widely-used metals today in everything from cars to appliances.

Aluminum bleachers are eco-friendly, compared to wood

Here’s another fascinating statistic. Nearly 75% of aluminum that has been mined is still in use today. Still in use today. Talk about a durable metal. Talk about one incredibly reusable product. If Mother Nature was ever able to create a sustainable, environmentally-friendly gift to humans, this is it.

What’s also great about aluminum is that Mother Nature made it very prevalent. That metal you see in those aluminum bleachers is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust. It is the third most abundant element on earth, after oxygen and silicon. Aluminum is actually made with bauxite which is then combined with oxygen and hydrogen.

Ironically, the largest users of aluminum – the United States, Japan and Germany, have little or no bauxite deposits. You’ll find those in China, Australia, South America and Africa.

In regard to recycled aluminum, according to the EPA, in 2012 Americans discarded 2.9 million tons of beer and soft drink products made with aluminum. About 55% of that amount was recycled. Be great if that number was closer to 80%.

Aluminum bleachers don’t fade, chip or splinter

aluminum bleachers

Aluminum bleachers

The other incredible property of aluminum is that it is extremely resistant to wear.  It resists corrosion. So, unlike wooden bleachers that fade, crack and splinter, aluminum bleachers can retain their strength and appearance for decades.

Who wants to scrape, sand and paint 15-row bleachers every year? Not many schools or sports facilities.

The other fantastic property of aluminum is that it is incredibly lightweight. This is why NASA uses it for many of its space projects. This is why you are seeing more and more aluminum in automobiles to increase the gas mileage. In fact, the 2015 Ford-150 truck will have an all-aluminum body, knocking off 700 pounds or 15% of the vehicle’s weight and making it more fuel-efficient.

That’s why you can easily wheel tip and roll aluminum bleachers around a gym or relocate transportable bleachers from one end of a field to the other.

With aluminum bleachers, there’s a major educational opportunity here. School teachers should be walking kids out of the classroom and on to the football field. Show them this is the result of all those aluminum cans they and their parents put in the recycling bins every week instead of the trash can or on the ground.

Many environmental organizations are recommending that schools, churches and businesses promote not just recycling, but the end result of recycling efforts. This closes the loop between the Collection, Manufacturing and Purchasing of recycled products (by the way, that’s what those three green arrows mean when you see them on recyclable products).

When it comes to the environment, sometimes aluminum bleachers can be more than aluminum bleachers. They can be an environmentally-friendly statement about saving the planet.

To see more information on the benefits and uses of aluminum, visit The Aluminum Association website here

To read the EPA statistics on recycled aluminum, go here.


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