What is aluminium?

Bauxite is dug out of the ground in mines like this. Forests are removed first! Getty Images

Bauxite is dug out of the ground in mines like this. Forests are removed first! Getty Images

Aluminium is made from a rock called bauxite that is dug from under the ground in mines. The rock is crushed and then heated in furnaces at a factory to turn it into aluminium.  Aluminium is a grey metal.

Aluminium cans are good containers for soft drinks because they are light and easy to transport. The metal can also be used as a container for oils and other liquids.

Aluminium was first used to make cans in 1957.

Aluminium cans and our environment

The good!

Aluminium cans can be recycled. After they are collected, they can be melted in a furnace and then used to make new cans. Recycling aluminium cans saves energy because it takes a lot of electricity to turn bauxite into aluminium. It takes less energy to recycle the old aluminium cans to make new ones.

Recycling cans is good for the environment. Getty Image

Recycling cans is good for the environment. Getty Image

The bad!

Aluminium cans pollute our environment and can be dangerous when left lying around. Forests are cleared away when bauxite is mined. Mining causes damage to the environment.

However

Recycling the cans helps our environment because less bauxite will be needed and some forest will be saved.

Read more about aluminium cans

http://cans.planetark.org/recycling-info/

Watch a video here about how new cans are made out of recycled ones.

© Getty images

© Getty images

Some properties of aluminium

  • Aluminium is light.

  • It is strong.

  • It can be made into many shapes.

  • It is not magnetic.

  • It is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. (this means that electricity and heat flow easily through it)