Aluminum foil is one of the things that almost everyone has in the household and that we often use without thinking about it and which nevertheless somehow make many people feel uneasy. Some even believe that aluminum foil is toxic. Is that true? We made ourselves smart.
We have been using aluminum foil for a good hundred years. After discovering the possible uses of the film in the early 19th century, aluminum foil soon replaced tinfoil paper as packaging material. Today there are probably few kitchens in which there is not a roll of aluminum foil lying around somewhere – be it for packing lunch, for storing leftovers, for baking, cooking or grilling. Choose the best with the aluminum foil container machine now.
Aluminum foil: practical and popular
The praise for the advantages of aluminum foil is long: It protects against light, oxidation, moisture, bacteria, also keeps the heat loss within limits when you pack warm food in it and only needs a minimum of packing space.
You can wrap the most crooked things in it, protect foil potatoes from burning when barbecuing, break bread, half onions and also garlic containing food leftovers aroma-tight, while the foil itself is fairly tasteless. In addition: aluminum foil is very cheap to have in every supermarket and drugstore and somehow it is also practical that you can simply dispose of it after use instead of having to rinse it.
Aluminum foil: environmentally harmful production
Above all, aluminum foil has one major disadvantage: Manufacturing is extremely polluting for the environment.
For the extraction of aluminum, the ore bauxite, which consists of around 60 percent aluminum, is extracted from the ground in the open pit. This is currently happening primarily in Australia, China, Brazil, but also in Guinea, India and Jamaica. In many places, primeval forests are being cut down to get to the bauxite.
When bauxite is processed further, so-called red mud is produced as a waste product up to four tons per ton of aluminum. This consists of many toxic chemicals: red mud, for example, contains lead and other heavy metals and cannot be processed further. That is why it is either dumped or discharged into water, destroying entire ecosystems. In the past, red mud dumps repeatedly contaminated entire regions due to dam breaks.
Aluminum foils production: high energy consumption
In the further processing of the aluminum, an electrolysis process is used that requires a lot of energy. Above all, this extremely high energy consumption in aluminum production ensures a bad ecological balance for the aluminum foil.
It takes around 15 megawatt hours of electricity to produce one ton of aluminum. This roughly corresponds to the amount of electricity that a two-person household consumes in five years. Compared to many other packaging materials, aluminum does poorly: The production of aluminum requires around 25 times as much energy as the processing of glass and about 10 times as much as the production of tinplate. In order to have sufficient electricity available, large hydro or coal-fired power plants are often built at the production sites. However, recycling can greatly reduce the amount of energy used in aluminum production.
Better for the environment: recycled aluminum foil
In principle, the recycling of aluminum, ie through the production of aluminum products from recycled aluminum, conserves natural resources. Only five percent of the original production energy is used for recycling 95 percent energy is saved compared to the initial production.