Environmental stewardship refers to responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices. Northwest Sign Recycling transforms outdated, weathered aluminum signs into clean, reusable blanks, greatly reducing costs without damaging the environment. Since opening its doors in 2004, the company has worked with hundreds of organizations and municipalities regionally, throughout the
This stewardship goes hand in hand with Northwest Sign Recycling’s present day-to-day operations and future goals. When you consider the impact production of new aluminum has on our environment, you will see how Northwest Sign Recycling is part of the solution for sustainability.
Environmental issues of aluminum production and the benefits of recycling
Aluminum does not exist in its pure form in nature; it must be extracted from ore and produced. Aluminum production is a relatively energy intensive process that requires some 13 million watt-hours per ton of metal produced. On average, it takes 15.7 kWh of electricity to produce one kilogram of aluminum. Recycled aluminum, however, requires only 5 percent of the energy used to make “new” aluminum, due to its lower melting point.
For example, recycling one pound of aluminum saves 90-95% of the energy needed to produce aluminum from bauxite ore. The recycling of that one pound of aluminum saves about 7 kWh of electricity. With the energy it takes to make just one new aluminum can from bauxite ore, you can make 20 recycled cans. Putting that energy savings into a more down-to-earth perspective, recycling one can conserves enough energy to power a television set for three hours. And, there is no difference between primary and recycled aluminum; aluminum is considered a sustainable metal and can be recycled indefinitely with no loss of material.
How Northwest Sign Recycling is doing its part
In its facility, they hydrostrip an average of 15 tons per year of aluminum road signs, that have been taken down for various reasons. Once their old laminates are stripped, they can be refaced and put back into service. This means that tonnage isn’t going back to the smelter and we’re saving the energy that would have been used to melt it down. They also recycle an additional 30 tons per year, which is processed using less energy and with a lower environmental impact compared to producing new aluminum.
Here are some astonishing statistics. The hydrostripping done here at Northwest Sign Recycling saves our environment 471,000 kWh per year. Our recycling of damaged signs back to the smelters saves our environment 420,000 kWh per year. The average American home consumes 11,280 kWh per year. The combined savings from NWSR are sufficient to power 79 homes for a year.
The CO2 emissions not produced from the energy we saved recycling would equal those emitted by the use of 26,194 propane cylinders for home barbeques or that of 8.3 tanker trucks worth of gasoline. That is a sobering thought.
More and more companies, municipalities, government agencies, and individuals are seeing the benefits of environmental stewardship. Northwest Sign Recycling is one of those companies, and we are spreading the word. We have shown what can be done recycling and repurposing, and would like to serve as an example to others on how we can all make a difference.
They hope that everyone will take a moment and ask themselves, “How can I work on my environmental stewardship and strive for sustainability?”