10 Cool Facts About Aluminum

When you hear the word “aluminum” you probably think of soda cans or the foil you use to cover your leftovers to save for a later meal. You’re not alone in that thinking. Other than knowing it’s a common metal, most people don’t recognize aluminum everywhere they see it—or realize how often they see it. Contrary to what you might think, aluminum is the second most abundant metal element found in the Earth’s crust!

As a premier Austin recycling center, we’re pretty passionate about our metals, and we wanted to share some of that passion with you. Here are some of our favorite intriguing and educational facts about aluminum. 

It Makes Great Art

If you’ve ever been to Austin’s contemporary art museum Laguna Gloria, you’ve probably visited the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park. And in that case, you’ve surely noticed the giant 33-foot metal man sculpture standing in the middle of the park. Want to take a guess what he’s made of?

It Was Once Rarer Than Gold

Even though aluminum makes up 8 percent of the Earth’s crust by weight, it doesn’t occur in metallic form on Earth. Because it requires such a complex refining process, aluminum was considered incredibly rare and was even considered more rare and valuable than silver or gold throughout most of the 19th century. 

It Was Good Enough for the Emperor of France

While Napoleon Bonaparte was under rule, he tried having weapons and armor made from aluminum for his army—and we applaud his early recycling efforts! Unfortunately, the refinement process was too expensive and only produced a couple of helmets. He was rumored to have melted them down into plates and cutlery and used them at each meal—while his guests got stuck with boring old gold.

It’s the Perfect Material for Airplanes

Did you know that 27 percent of aluminum consumption goes toward the transportation industry? Aluminum is the top material in aviation engineering because it’s lightweight, strong, and reliable. 

It Helps You See the Universe

Because aluminum is highly reflective, it’s a perfect material to use for the tubing found in telescopes. 

It Was Used During the Classical Age

The Ancient Greeks and Romans were known to have used aluminum compounds as both a fabric dye and an astringent.

It Has a Very Low Carbon Footprint

When you recycle aluminum scrap, you’re helping to save 90 percent of the energy necessary to make new aluminum.

It’s More Lightweight Than You Think

Aluminum weighs only one third as much as copper or steel. That’s one of the reasons it’s such a good material for building airplanes.

Some States Will Pay You When You Recycle It

Lucky for you, Texas is one of those states. When you visit us at Gardner, make sure to bring your aluminum scrap. We’ll pay you on the spot for aluminum cans, windows and door frames, as well as aluminum alloys. 

It Might Outlive You

Aluminum cans in a landfill can take an unbelievable 200 years to break down. That’s one more reason why it’s so important to recycle aluminum scrap, along with the rest of your scrap metals. 

Just like all scrap metals, aluminum isn’t something that you can simply throw away with the rest of the trash. But it doesn’t have to be a burden, either. 

Gardner Metals has been a local and family-owned recycling center here in Austin for the past 50 years. Instead of wasting time Googling “aluminum recycling near me,” just bring your scrap metals on down to us. We’ll make sure that they’re used in a more environmentally friendly way, and we’ll pay you on the spot for your scraps, too. Not sure what you can bring to us? Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you out.