Did you know that Boyne Smelters Limited (BSL) is Australia’s largest aluminium can recycling facility?
Following the 2014 closure of Australia’s main aluminium recycling plant in Yennora, New South Wales, most of the country’s aluminium cans were being sent overseas for processing. BSL’s people saw an opportunity to add value to Australian resources in Gladstone so commenced the trial of processing cans at BSL, which led to the smelter recycling around 13 million aluminium cans a month.
Aside from the benefits of reducing landfill waste, recycling aluminium uses only around 5% of the energy of primary aluminium production. This means less greenhouse gas emissions are produced and aluminium is made much more efficiently.
In recognition of this innovative direction taken by a primary metal producer, BSL was named a finalist in the environmental category at Australia’s recent Endeavour Awards, a prestigious celebration of excellence in manufacturing.
BSL GM Joe Rea said being shortlisted among the nation’s best was testament to the efforts of the smelter’s people striving to better the plant’s environmental performance and energy efficiency.
“Aluminium takes a lot of energy to produce, from refining bauxite to alumina, then finally smelting alumina into aluminium. I couldn’t bear to see Australian metal being shipped offshore for recycling while aluminium manufacturers here in Australia are struggling to remain profitable in tough market conditions,” Mr Rea said.
“It really has so many benefits for the community, environment and BSL. If more people add cans to collection baskets found at many schools, scout halls etcetera, then that community group receives increased funds from scrap metal sales. This simultaneously makes available more cans for BSL to purchase and add to our process, reducing energy required for producing aluminium and therefore greenhouse gas emissions.”
BSL celebrated World Environment Day with other Gladstone businesses and organisations at last Sunday’s Ecofest with a display celebrating the can recycling initiative.
• BSL recycles 13 million cans a month (2.4 kt pa).
• BSL sources 80%of its cans from Queensland with the remainder from NSW.
• BSL trucks in approximately 156 million cans in a year.
• Recycling aluminium uses only ~5% of the energy of aluminium metal production.