Energy balance

The energy required to recover and recycle aluminium, glass, paper, polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET soft drink bottles), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and Polyvinylchloride (PVC) from domestic refuse, is considerably less than the energy required to produce these materials from raw materials, particularly when the refuse is separated at source, and collected regularly and frequently from this source.

The energy requirements for producing these material, from raw materials and recyclable materials separated from domestic refuse, has been calculated in terms of gigajoules per tonne of material. For perspective, a typical Perth householder uses on average, 13 gigajoules of energy per year at home.

Calculations relating to the energy requirement are based on the conditions applicable to industries within Western Australia. Where some stages of processing or recycling are not available in Western Australia, then the appropriate interstate or international figures are quoted. The additional energy required to transport the material between sites is therefore included.

Figure 1 shows the variation of energy that goes into producing one tonne of aluminium, glass, unbleached and bleached paper, polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polypropylene, polystyrene, and Polyvinylchloride, from raw materials, and recyclable materials recovered from domestic refuse and collected through a separation at source collection service.

Total energy requirements for production

Total energy requirements for production

Aluminium Recycling Energy Balance

gigajoules per tonne of m alertai

Figure 1: Energy required to produce one tonne of aluminium, glass, bleached paper, unbleached paper, polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene and polyvinylchloride, from raw materials and recycled materials gigajoules per tonne of m alertai

Figure 1: Energy required to produce one tonne of aluminium, glass, bleached paper, unbleached paper, polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, polystyrene and polyvinylchloride, from raw materials and recycled materials

The energy required to produce one tonne of material from raw materials takes into account the energy expended in the extraction and mining of the principal raw materials, the refining and pre-treatment processes, and the manufacturing of usable products. The energy required to manufacture products from recycled materials takes into account the energy expended in collecting, sorting, pre-treating and reprocessing the recyclable materials. The energy expended in transporting the various materials, from one site to another, is also included.

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