For many years, aluminium has stood out as a preferred material in the signage sector, prized for its impressive strength-to-weight ratio, resistance to corrosion, and malleability. Despite these advantages, aluminium has historically been associated with high energy intensity, demanding substantial power and logistical efforts for refining and extrusion.
In response to the global push for sustainability, cutting-edge ultra-low aluminium processes have emerged. Through the integration of extensive recycling practices and reliance on renewable energy sources, a substantial reduction in the carbon footprint of aluminium is achievable.
This transformative approach not only aligns with the current worldwide emphasis on sustainable alternatives but also signifies a progressive step towards more environmentally conscious practices in the sign industry. The fusion of recycling, renewable energy, and efficient processes charts a course towards a more sustainable and responsible future for aluminium in signage.
An astonishing 75% of the nearly 1.5 billion tonnes of aluminium ever produced is still being used today? With Europe having the worlds highest aluminium RER (recycling efficiency rate) in the world at 81%.
The aluminium refinery process from bauxite to billet demands tremendous amounts of electricity. By taking the recycled aluminium and pairing that with clean, renewable energy we can reduce the total energy down to a mere 5% of traditional mined bauxite.
Achieving Low CO2 Aluminium
- It's all in the billet
What is an aluminium billet?
When aluminium is refined or recycled it is melted down and cast into a billet. The billet is usually cast as a long cylindrical bar up to 7m in length, This base material is used for all types of aluminium processing including extruding, rolling and forging.
The key to producing a low CO2 billet relies on the aluminium source content and the refining processes to melt and cast the aluminium.
By utilising up to 50% post-consumer scrap and renewable power, the carbon
emissions of the aluminium base billet can be reduced by up to 81% in comparison to world averages.
Recycled Scrap Content
Recycled scrap plays a huge role in bringing down the carbon footprint of an aluminium billet. With 2 different types of scrap material being used in the casting process, it is important to understand the key differences:
Post-consumer scrap: This material has been used in the market for its intended purpose and completed its product life. A great example would be an aluminium can that has been filled with a beverage, bought, consumed and added back into the recycling chain. Post consumer scrap holds the lowest CO2 footprint at just 0.5kg CO2 per 1kg aluminium.
Pre-consumer scrap: As per the name, this material is waste from the aluminium extrusion or manufacturing process. It could be the end of a billet, rejected extrusions or offcuts from length trimming. This material never becomes an end product.
Renewable power is a low-carbon and eco-friendly energy source, distinguishing itself by producing electricity without direct CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels. This can be achieved through the utilization of a number of different methods be it hydro-electricity, wind or solar power.
By using renewable energy to run the refinery and billet casting plants the CO2 reduction is incredible. That coupled with the fact that it only takes 5% of the energy to recycle aluminium as it does to refine it from bauxite, the result is a low carbon aluminium billet.
Low Carbon Aluminium for Signage
With the sign industry moving towards a more sustainable future it is important to look at how procurement and materials can effect the green credentials of a business. Often sustainability surrounding signage focuses on non-PVC materials, inks and other technologies. However, as shown previously, aluminium will play a pivotal role in assessing the environmental impact of sign production.
At Sign Trade Supplies we are focusing on our aluminium product range and making a move to standardise a low carbon product. With our current range already beating world averages we also have the ability to produce ultra-low carbon aluminium profiles which further reduces the impact on climate change these products have.
How do our products compare?
Sign Trade Supplies Ltd has truly committed to extruding sustainable aluminium profiles. All of our standard aluminium posts, channel and profiles use a low carbon aluminium billet with a CO2 footprint of 5.1kg per 1kg of aluminium. In comparison to the world average this is a 68% saving in CO2 emissions.
Our low carbon aluminium is provided at no extra cost and has saved thousands of tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere to date. However, we don't stop there, we also have the ability to take it one step further with the ultra-low carbon billet. The ULC billet achieves a staggering 81% saving on the world average and can be incorporated into bespoke profiles and projects with even greater emphasis on sustainable credentials.
Our Low Carbon Aluminium Products
Aluminium Sign Posts
Aluminium sign posts are an excellent product to switch to a low carbon aluminium option. With sign posts literally holding up the nations signage it would be great to see a low CO2 product as an industry standard.
Be ahead of the curve today and choose a low carbon post that will look, feel and perform exactly the same as a standard sign post, but also offering a great improvement on environmental and climate impact.
Aluminium Sign Channel
With sign channel being one of the most common extrusions used in the sign industry, its an obvious choice to target when looking at improving your procurement practices in line with your sustainability goals.
Making the change to sign channel that is extruded with a low carbon aluminium billet will provide the exact same material characteristics and strength along with a massive improvement to your end products CO2 footprint.
Bespoke Aluminium Profiles
It's not just standard extrusions we can help save the CO2 emissions on. We also offer a bespoke extrusion design, development and production.
Leading with lean and sustainable profile design, we use our knowledge and experience to help adapt and improve initial designs to maintain strength whilst reducing wasted material. Always looking to reduce consumption of material, energy and cost, our profile development is here to help you save on profile development.
Are you ready to start your low CO2 journey?
Join us in your journey towards enhanced sustainability! Reach out to one of our dedicated team members today, and we'll gladly explore the array of options at your disposal. Let's collaborate to ensure your aluminum profile procurement aligns with lower climate and environmental impact, fostering a greener and more responsible approach