Some of Our Boat docks in Knoxville are built with up to 70% recycled aluminum! That’s because aluminum is one of the best materials on earth for reuse and recycling. The molecules retain their properties, time and time again so that recycled aluminum is essentially the exact same as new aluminum.
However, recycled aluminum only requires 5% of the energy to process, as compared to mining aluminum from the crust of the Earth in the form of bauxite. Due to a large amount of electricity required to produce aluminum from bauxite ore, pure aluminum is a sustainable material aluminum is often referred to as a solid battery. That makes sense when you look at aluminum-air batteries, which have 8 times the energy storage density of lithium-ion. It also helps that aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, and the third most abundant element. As consumers, we benefit from aluminum’s infinite cycling ability and create a truly sustainable material.
Unfortunately, steel and wood undergo irreversible degradation, resulting in lost and unrecoverable materials. Rust (iron oxide) forms on all steel and creates obtrusive rust stains. While steel can be recycled well, the iron oxide is lost to the environment and cannot be recovered. Wood degrades from UV damage, water damage, bug damage…you name it.
The energy required to harvest more wood, the transportation costs and land use requirements make wood aluminum is a sustainable material poor choice for green dock building. Wood’s life can be extended, but only through the cultivation of rare tropical hardwoods or through the use of aggressive and toxic preservatives. Over time, these preservatives leach out into the surrounding environment, essentially poisoning the local ecosystem.
In addition to using a high percentage of recycled aluminum, East Tennessee Propeller also will reuse and recycle all paper, wood, plastics and various metals during the production and manufacturing of our docks. Recycling and green building go hand in hand with efficiency and common sense. By reducing the amount of waste we generate, we reduce local landfill costs and burdens. Please consider the environment when choosing your building materials.