As the global automotive industry intensifies efforts to achieve sustainability targets, particularly in reducing carbon emissions, the focus is turning toward aluminum—an infinitely recyclable material. Closed-loop and end-of-life recycling programs built on customized solutions offer numerous benefits for automakers, and Novelis Inc., the world’s largest aluminum recycler, leads the charge in partnering with automakers to implement these circular economy initiatives. In a recent article from Novelis, Jamie Zinser, Vice President, Global Automotive at Novelis, highlights four significant advantages of such programs.
- Preserving the value of aluminum alloys: A closed-loop recycling program is crucial for sustainable mobility, ensuring that similar alloys are kept separate to maintain automotive performance specifications. Advanced segregation and sorting technologies enable the conversion of scrap aluminum into new vehicle parts, reducing the need for primary metal input and preserving its value. Novelis invests in these technologies to streamline the process for automakers, ultimately reducing the demand for raw materials.
- Reducing CO2 emissions: Recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy compared to primary production, resulting in a significant reduction of carbon emissions. Increasing its use fosters energy efficiency and promotes a true circular economy. Closed-loop agreements with customers allow Novelis to recycle production scrap into new automotive sheet, contributing to the sustainability of their vehicles.
- Establishing a secure supply chain: Embracing recycled materials strengthens the automaker’s supply chain and makes production less vulnerable to external disruptions. Leveraging aluminum’s unique property of being infinitely recyclable, up to 30%-40% of scrap can be reused in the stamping process, ensuring a steady supply of material.
- Enhancing economic benefits: Infinitely recyclable aluminum allows for closed-loop recycling, reducing overall vehicle costs while maximizing the sustainability benefits of aluminum. Its lightweight properties contribute to EV efficiency, enabling longer distances on a single battery charge.
Novelis, the pioneer in automotive closed-loop recycling, collaborates extensively with OEMs worldwide. Notably, in North America, they have joined forces with their customers to create the automotive industry’s most extensive closed-loop system. Through this successful partnership, they recycle a substantial amount of aluminum scrap generated from the automotive stamping process, enabling them to produce 37,000 new vehicle bodies every month.
In Europe, Novelis continues to drive sustainable initiatives by working closely with partners to establish the first-ever regional closed-loop recycling system. This groundbreaking system is based on a dedicated round-trip railway service, efficiently delivering materials across Europe.
By sharing a collective vision of a more sustainable future, the automotive and aluminum recycling industries can forge fruitful collaborations. Together, they have the potential to develop innovative solutions that can transform the concept of a circular economy from a mere idea to a tangible reality in the present.