Post-consumer aluminium scrap tops 20 million tonnes for the first time

  • International Aluminium Institute reveals new data on global scrap use
  • Says recycled aluminium could meet 50 per cent of demand by 2050

The International Aluminium Institute (IAI) has today released new data revealing a record 20 million tonnes of post-consumer scrap intake in 2019. This avoids 300 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions as the recycled metal reduces demand for primary aluminium.

This new high, published in the latest IAI Material Flow Model update, represents nearly 60 per cent of total scrap intake as post-consumer continues to outstrip pre-consumer scrap levels.

The post-consumer scrap intake came from three main sources – packaging, vehicles and building and construction.

Commenting on the data, IAI’s Director – Scenarios & Forecasts, Marlen Bertram, said:

“Aluminium demand is expected to increase by about 80% in 2050, and the IAI forecasts that recycled aluminium could meet half of that demand. With ambitious collection targets for used beverage cans and improved recycling technologies for foil, this rate could even be higher.”

“Historical figures indicate that measures to increase the amount of post-consumer aluminium products being put back into production continue to be successful”, Ms Bertram added.

The latest figures are part of IAI’s annual Material Flow Model update, published on Alucycle.

Ms Bertram notes: “The IAI can now look back at nearly 70 years of historical data from mining to product, recycling and trade for nine regions and globally. The 2021 update includes a complete historical dataset for 2019 as well as 2020 partial dataset.”

Aluminium is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet and the IAI is campaigning to ensure end-of-life products are returned into the aluminium recycling loop given the economic and environmental value of the metal in the global economy.

The latest IAI update includes two key industry scenarios on all aspects of aluminium production and demand up to 2050. This takes into account the impact of Covid-19 and plays a key data source for IAI’s recently launched Aluminium Sector Greenhouse Gas Pathways to 2050 report.

The annual update provides a comprehensive review of the aluminium industry covering primary aluminium production, alumina production, inventories, regional semis shipments and trade of bauxite, alumina, aluminium, semis, final products and scrap.

Download the factsheet here.