I have decided to use this page of my site to promote how eco-friendly metal gutters are, as opposed to,  plastic e.t.c. I will add some links to what I think is appropriate to the cause, and also some literature on the subject. Any links or letters from you will be welcome, so if you want your say just mail me.
Aluminium recycling facts
  • Recycling one kilogram of aluminium can save up to 8 kilograms of bauxite, four kilograms of chemical products and 14 kilowatt hours of electricity.

  • Anything made of aluminium can be recycled repeatedly: not only cans, but aluminium foil, plates and pie molds, window frames, garden furniture and automotive components are melted down and used to make the same products again.Used aluminium cans can be recycled to make new aluminium cans, aluminium windows can be recycled to make new aluminium windows and old aluminium engine blocks to make new ones. The recycling rate for aluminium cans is already above 70% in some countries.

  • The aluminium industry has set up various schemes to encourage recycling in many countries.

  • Aluminium beverage cans can be profitably recycled by individuals and groups and most countries have a national can recycling association which offers advice, support, and can put collectors in touch with purchasing organisations.

  • Process scrap at all stages is meticulously collected and sorted by alloy by all aluminium companies and most customer organisations. Unlike other metals, scrap aluminium has significant value and commands good market prices. The London Metal exchange quotes aluminium scrap prices.

  • Aluminium companies have invested in dedicated state of the art secondary metal processing plants to recycle aluminium. In the case of beverage cans, the process uses gas collected from burning off the volatile substances in can coatings to provide heat for the process. Every last bit of energy is used.

  • Used beverage cans are normally back on supermarket shelves as new beverage cans in 6-8 weeks in those countries which have dedicated can collecting and recycling schemes.

  • In Europe, the aluminium beverage can meets the minimum targets set in the European directive on Packaging and Waste. Sweden (92 per cent) and Switzerland (88 per cent) are the European can recycling champions. The European average is 40 per cent, a ten per cent increase since 1994.

  • The recycling of aluminium beverage cans eliminates waste. It saves energy, conserves natural resources, reduces use of city landfills and provides added revenue for recyclers, charities and local town government. The aluminium can is therefore good news for the environment and good for the economy.

  • The aluminium can is 100% recyclable; there are no labels or covers to be removed.

  • Today's aluminium can requires about 40% less metal than the can made 25 years ago; hence the need for less energy and less raw material per can.

  • Cans made from aluminium are worth 6 to 20 times more than any other used packaging material.

  • Aluminium is the only packaging material that more than covers the cost of its own collection and processing at recycling centres.

  • Pilot schemes exist in several countries for recycling aluminium foil from packaging materials.

  • The aluminium industry is working with automobile makers to enable cars with aluminium components to be easily dismantled and the scrap sorted and re-used for identical new parts. In most other recycling schemes scrap material is rarely re-used for the same application – it has to be downgraded to an application requiring lesser metallic properties.

  • Recycling rates for building and transport applications range from 60 to 90 per cent in various countries. The metal is re-used in high quality applications.

What follows is the answer to a question I put to Hall & Botterill regarding the advantages cast aluminium has over cast iron when used in the manufacture of heritage guttering. The letter was meant for me to show to a prospective customer, but as I couldn't have put it better myself.................

Cast iron gutter if repainted every 5 years should last about 80 years. Cast Aluminium Gutter because it forms a protective patina, its life span would be measured in centuries. Or by the life span of what is holding it in place. The Powder Coating dependant on local conditions should last between 10 and 30 years, then repainting for aesthetic appearance would be required.
2) Potential Damage To Building
On Heritage Buildings every time scaffolding is erected, damage to the building is a possibility. Therefore with cast iron this likely hood will occur every 5 years. On very old buildings Lime Mortar can be prised apart due to the weight of cast iron, which leads to water ingress and frost damage.
Cast Aluminium is Lighter in weight, considerably less maintenance, with a much longer life span.
3) Specials
In particular Heritage Buildings will have Special Angles etc. In cast iron this will entail having a wooden pattern made, then cast, fettled and delivered. This usually takes between 5 - 7 working weeks.
As cast aluminium can be cut and welded, the process takes about 48hrs, and cost hundreds of pounds less.
4) Recycling
Cast Aluminium is probably one of the most recycled and recyclable materials on the planet. Cast Iron Rust can not be recycled.
5) Appearance
As both materials are a cast metal, there is no difference visually between them.
It is my honest belief that had Cast Aluminium been around as long as cast iron, then cast iron would never have been used to make rainwater gutters.
I have tried to keep my answers brief, however if you require any further information, please do not hesitate to give me a call.
Mr Alex Paterson


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