Sustainable packaging with aluminum is heavily emphasized by metals manufacturer Desjardin of France since it provides efficient and clean solutions for food, cosmetic and medical packaging. Due to aluminum’s hygienic properties, it appropriately works well as a packing material for several industries. Here are other reasons why the company likes working with aluminum (spelled aluminium outside of North America).
Aluminum can be recycled without leaving wasteful byproducts in certain phases of production. Desjardin has embraced this fact for decades, making it an ahead of the curve eco-friendly manufacturer, which partly explains the company’s long-term customer loyalty. The recycling process for aluminum can meet FDA requirements easily, unlike the production processes of many other raw materials, which is a big reason why it is favored by the aluminum stewardship of environmentally-conscious professionals.
The Nature of Aluminum
Aluminum has a silver-white appearance and is currently the most widely produced non-ferrous metal on earth, particularly for the automotive, aviation and construction industries. The packing industry uses it for tin cans, foil, boxes, cartons, aerosols and more due to its strength, durability, flexibility, electrical conductivity and corrosion-resistant qualities. Not only is it so sturdy that it’s hard to damage, it can be used for lightweight packaging as well.
Made from a natural ore called bauxite, aluminum is one of the planet’s most abundant minerals. After bauxite is mined, it is refined as alumina and then ultimately smelted to become aluminum metal.
Sustainability of Aluminum
First used by Ancient Greeks and Romans thousands of years ago, aluminum began to surface in mass production during the early 19th century. Since then 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced remains in use, due to its easy recycling properties. Here are key reasons why it is considered sustainable:
- 95 percent of the metal is recyclable
- lightweight versions increase fuel efficiency for vehicles and aircraft, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions
- cans are easy to recycle without loss of quality
- its efficiency results in high demand for scrap
Waste and Land Management Challenges
A major challenge for aluminum vendors is that it requires more research for proper disposal of bauxite residue in landfills, as the run-off water is toxic. Most bauxite residue results from mining of the earth’s crust near the surface, commonly in tropical areas. That’s why alumina refineries are usually located near a bauxite mine or shipping harbor, to limit spreading pollutants in generally populated areas, as a measure of resource efficiency.
Desjardin’s orientation towards a sustainability starts already at the purchasing process. The company buys its aluminum sheets from responsible and eco-oriented suppliers, who have procedures minimizing pollution and who use a big share of recycled aluminum. Desjardin’s gauge for evaluating a supplier’s eligibility are the standards and guidelines outlined by the aluminum stewardship initiative ASI.
Conversion of Scrap to Useful Products
Aluminum waste can be minimized by converting scrap into reusable products, every step of the recycling process. The result of Desjardin and other aluminum industry leaders focusing vigorously on recycling has been a significant reduction of waste in landfills.
In order to efficiently recycle scrap aluminum, systems must be used to sort out the different raw materials that are integrated in the manufacturing process.
Any type of mining raises issues within a region where people reside. Large scale facilities that require use of land and water often face controversial debates within the community and local governments over land, water and wildlife protections, as well as concern for human safety. Bauxite mining involves multiple time-consuming and energy-intensive steps, including:
- exploration and development
- alumina production and product manufacturing
- transportation to vendors in the supply chain
- waste disposal and recycling
Many times local citizens feel their rights are violated when a mining company seeks to build a production facility near their community. On the other hand, a mining company can bring hundreds or thousands of jobs to a community and help the local economy, as well as create revenue for government and investors. Furthermore, closing such an industrial facility can have adverse effects on local employment. Desjardin’s purchase decisions support those industries that are living the economical, ecological and social balance.
Taking Initiative of Sustainability
In the 21st century, there has been more research, development and debate on sustainability among government, corporations and the public than any other time in history. At the forefront of this discussion is Desjardin, which takes environmental protection very seriously.
Whether its manufacturing process involves tinplates, aluminum or other metal products of various sizes, Desjardin emphasizes efficiency and sustainability in its customized productions.
The company has been around for over a century with the understanding that its customers want products that provide an overall net benefit to our planet, considering health, hygiene and affordability for the end customers and an appropriate balance between economical, ecological and social aspects throughout the whole product production and recycling chain.