Anodising and The Environment
Anodising's environmental friendliness and relative safety are among its best properties, in the age of increasing concern for human protection and quality of our land, water and air.
Anodising uses simple water-based chemicals that can be treated easily and that release no harmful by-products. The liquid by-products are recycled and returned to the process. Solid by-products can be isolated and diverted for use in the manufacture of alum, baking powder, cosmetics, newsprint, fertilizer and water purification systems. The Environmental Protection Authorities which heavily regulate the production of anodising regards anodising as an environmentally friendly process.
Anodising does create a by-product composed primarily of aluminium hydroxide, some aluminium sulfate and water. It is harmless because it contains no significant amounts of heavy metals. In some cases, municipal sewerage treatment plants benefit from these by-products by using them as filters in the secondary treatment of sewerage.
Anodising plants are well ventilated and workers are carefully trained in the use of acidic materials and processes. In general, however, no extraordinary precautions are needed to ensure worker safety, employees only need to wear a minimum of special protective clothing, and no expensive, heavy safety equipment is required.