Aluminum Production

Producing Aluminum Sustainably

The North American aluminum industry has made significant strides in recent years to limit the environmental impact of producing primary (new) aluminum.

Initiatives have included:     

  • A voluntary industry partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) beginning in the 1990s to reduce emissions of perfluorocarbons (PFC), a greenhouse gas.
  • The increased use of computerized process controls to limit electric power use in aluminum production.
  • The gradual phase-out of older facilities relying on more energy-intensive production processes.
  • The expanded use of hydroelectric power sources for aluminum production, which has risen from 63 percent in 1995 to 75 percent today.   

As a result of these continued efforts, the industry has achieved:

  • An 85 percent reduction in PFC emissions since the early 1990s. Industry efforts in this area were recognized by the EPA with the 2001 Climate Change Protection Award.  
  • An 11 percent reduction in the energy needed to produce a single metric ton of primary aluminum since 2005 and a 26 percent reduction since 1995.
  • The industry’s overall carbon footprint has fallen even more dramatically, declining 19 percent since 2005 and 37 percent since 1995.

Learn more in the infographic, Aluminum's Environmental Footprint, or read our two-page briefing or full life cycle assessment (LCA) report on aluminum production and semi-fabrication.

The aluminum industry's carbon footprint has declined nearly 40% since 1995.

Voluntary environmental efforts mean that aluminum made in North America is more sustainable today than ever before. Energy required to produce new aluminum is down more than a quarter since 1995 and the industry’s carbon footprint is down nearly 40 percent.

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