Soil to Foil

Aluminum and the Quest for Industrial Sustainability

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Pub Date 23 May 2023 | Archive Date 30 Aug 2023

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Description

Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. It is also ubiquitous in the modern world, from aircraft to soda cans. A dizzying number of consumer and industrial products employ aluminum, typically alloyed, because of its availability, versatility, and malleability. Today, how efficiently we use—and reuse—aluminum products is vital to addressing environmental challenges.

Soil to Foil tells the extraordinary story of aluminum. Saleem H. Ali reveals its pivotal role in the histories of scientific inquiry and technological innovation as well as its importance to sustainability. He offers compelling portraits of the scientists and innovators who discovered new uses for this remarkable element, ranging from chemistry and geoscience to engineering and industrial design. Ali argues that aluminum exemplifies broader lessons about stewardship of nonrenewable resources: its seeming abundance has given rise to wasteful and destructive practices. Soil to Foil follows aluminum’s path along the supply chain, from extraction to production, consumption to recycling. Ali explores the ecological damage at mine sites and visits affected communities seeking to restore the land. He foregrounds the possibilities for more sustainable industrial practices, emphasizing how product design can incorporate eventual reuse and recycling. Ultimately, Soil to Foil shows that the story of aluminum’s use and misuse helps us rethink how to sustainably manage the resources of our planet.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Saleem H. Ali is Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware and a senior fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment. He is a member of the United Nations International Resource Panel and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility. Ali’s books include Earthly Order: How Natural Laws Define Human Life (2022).

Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust. It is also ubiquitous in the modern world, from aircraft to soda cans. A dizzying number of consumer and industrial products employ aluminum...


Advance Praise

"Soil to Foil shows the profound connections between the atomic properties of aluminum and the gigantic entanglements of the world we live in via economics, politics, environmental laws, science, technology, industrial design, advertising, and more. It is one thing to simply say 'yes, we know this,' but quite another to be skillfully guided through a much deeper and ever more vital understanding of all these matters, which Ali so admirably does."

--Tyler Volk, professor emeritus, New York University, and author of Quarks to Culture

"Soil to Foil shows the profound connections between the atomic properties of aluminum and the gigantic entanglements of the world we live in via economics, politics, environmental laws, science...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9780231204484
PRICE $35.00 (USD)
PAGES 280

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