DOES GREEN ALUMINIUM EXIST? And, if so, what exactly is it?

First things first: aluminium has a silvery color and is only green once painted or anodized. This fact is important to bear in mind when scrutinizing claims of green aluminium. Ultimately, only on closer inspection does it become clear wether an assertion is just that, i.e. colored green, or wether the statement is comprehensively technically correct. AMAG has pursued the latter option for many years now. The company only makes public statements on sustainability-related issues when its claims can be audited by accredited thirdparty bodies and certifiably documented.

What exactly does “green” mean in the context of green aluminium?

The German Environment Agency defines green economy as a “concept that follows the model of an environmentally compatible economy. It promotes environmentally compatible growth by recognizing environmental limits and anticipating economic scarcity and costs.” It states that a product is considered green “when it stands out significantly from functionally comparable products in terms of its environmental quality.” [1]


The EU Taxonomy: A catalog of sustainable activities

The EU Taxonomy is a classification method for defining sustainable business activities. The EU created this taxonomy to highlight a catalog of activities that are considered sustainable. The six environmental objectives for sustainable economic activities:

Industrial production in pursuit of these objectives must therefore follow all four of the following criteria:

  • It must contribute to one of the six environment objectives
  • It must do no significant harm
  • It must meet minimum safety standards to avoid having a negative social impact
  • It must comply with the technical screening criteria

The EU has therefore established a precise definition of the requirements for, and implementation of, sustainable economic activity - and, as a result, for “green aluminium”

Implementation of fields of action for green aluminium

For aluminium production to comply with the EU Taxonomy’s requirements for green products, it is important to consider both the input side and the process side.

The input side

The aluminium market is growing at around 3-4% annually, and yet it is not yet saturated. Due to the long service life of aluminium products, there is comparatively little return of aluminium scrap. More than two thirds of demand is still covered by primary metal, as only around one third can be covered by recycling. Efficient recycling is therefore crucial, but due to the variety of alloys in aluminium products, it is technically difficult to produce high-quality alloys exclusively from mixed scrap. This results in either alloys with less stringent requirements being produced (downgrading) or purity being achieved by adding primary aluminium or a carefully composed scrap mix. Collaboration with customers is crucial in order to increase recycled content and produce larger quantities of material. Without changing the alloying tolerances of existing alloys, the amount of scrap that can be used will on average not even reach a third of what is required.


The process side

AMAG's production facilities are designed to meet or exceed the current state of the art, comply with all legal requirements and minimise environmental impact. This is achieved through the efficient use of materials, operating and auxiliary materials, water and energy as well as continuous process optimisation. Environmental impacts, including air, soil and water, are closely monitored, with a focus on measuring emissions such as dust and organic carbon compounds. The results are documented in annual reports and reported to the authorities. The reuse of cooling water and internal materials as well as the sustainable management of the company's own forest and the breeding of varroa-resistant bees demonstrate AMAG's commitment to environmental protection and biodiversity.

Even greener aluminium?

There are calls from lawmakers and customers (the latter often spurred on by the former) to make aluminium even greener, further reducing its negative impacts on the environment. While AMAG is happy to comply with this request, it is important to ensure this is a shared endeavor. In November 2023, AMAG started its first large-scale test to smelt aluminium on an industrial scale using hydrogen as the only fuel source.

Companies should work with their customers to establish long-term, closed-loop relationships so that scrap can be recycled into new products with no loss of quality, with established alloy tolerances revised to facilitate increased use of mixed scrap. AMAG’s leading expertise in aluminium recycling will become even more important for the production of green aluminum. Continuing to produce high volumes of aluminium will require AMAG to coordinate closely with its customers. Producing secondary aluminium only requires 5 % to 10 % of the energy used in primary aluminium production and thereby represents the most significant contribution to creating a climate-neutral product and a climate-neutral industrial site. However, if we are to fully exploit this potential, we will also have to achieve corresponding innovations in relation to alloys, with wider tolerance ranges for alloying elements to increase the scrap utilization rate, or novel alloy concepts such as AMAG CrossAlloys®.

Benefits for customers

Green aluminium is not an empty marketing buzzword: it is clearly defined in the EU Taxonomy Regulation. Although the primary focus is on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, especially CO2, this is only one aspect of the EU’s comprehensive sustainability objectives. This holistic approach has long been part of AMAG’s DNA and is always part of our product development activities. AMAG has been doing this systematically for many years, with independent certifications and awards attesting to its success.


For all those who want to know more:

Further information




[1] German Environment Agency (UBA) “Grüne Produkte in Deutschland, Status Quo und Trends”, April 2013, Fachgebiet III 1.1, Übergreifende Aspekte des produktbezogenen Umweltschutzes, nachhaltige Konsumstrukturen, Innovationsprogramm, Dr. Michael Bilharz, Dessau-Rosslau, Germany,

[2] European Commission, EU Taxonomy Navigator, and “A User Guide to Navigate the EU Taxonomy for Sustainable Activities”, June 2023, ISBN-13 978-92-76-40678-5,

Show more