What is mass balance for aluminium?

In order to make a contribution to a more sustainable world, we and our raw material suppliers have selected the mass balance approach. This approach promotes the use of aluminium made from post-industrial aluminium without wasting resources.

Sustainable and resource-saving production 

We want to manufacture our products with aluminium from recycled raw materials, i.e. from post-industrial aluminium waste. Manufacturers produce stocks and we get as much of it as we need. However, the quantities we consume constitute only a very small part of the production capacities of these manufacturers.

Use of post-industrial waste for the mass balance 

However, if the manufacturers want to supply pure, recycled aluminium, they can only produce as much as is ordered. This would either require the construction of completely new plants or the shutdown of the plant between the production of recycled and non-recycled aluminium. The downtime for such a plant can quickly amount to several days or more. At present, recycled aluminium is only used and suitable aluminium waste only available in small quantities. These small quantities are not enough to efficiently run the aluminium plants of the manufacturers or to fill their production capacities.

Reasons for the mass balance approach 

The mass balance approach was therefore introduced to enable the use of post-industrial recycled aluminium without soaring costs and wasting resources. The mass balance approach is an important milestone on the way to a circular economy.

Steps in the mass balance approach process 

When we want to use recycled aluminium for our products, we order the corresponding quantity from our manufacturer. The manufacturer then buys the required alternative raw materials and uses them for the production of aluminium . The trick is that ‘our’ raw material is mixed with the normal raw material and then used for production. The manufacturer thus produces an aluminium that is partly recycled and partly new. Since everything is produced together in the casthouse, the aluminium cannot be separated afterwards because the material all appears to be exactly the same.

The mass balance method 

Therefore, we cannot tell whether the aluminium foil we are holding in our hands was made with recycled or new aluminium. We only know that the corresponding amount of post-industrial recycled aluminium is used and is being utilised somewhere in the world. Maybe in our products. This process is what is called mass balance.

Promotion of environmentally friendly production processes 

We are constantly working to make our products more sustainable and environmentally friendly. We believe that the mass balance approach is currently the only way to do this and is a great opportunity to combine sustainability and the customary quality in our products. We hope that ongoing research and an increase in demand for alternative materials and manufacturing processes will lead to solutions beyond the mass balance approach in the future.

The use of the mass balance approach for Toppits® 

Toppits® also takes the mass balance approach and is actively committed to the sustainable use of resources by using alternative resources in the manufacture of its products. Our goal is to use only recycled or renewable resources in the manufacture of Toppits® products and packaging by 2025, in order to almost completely eliminate fossil sources.

 

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