About 32 million tons of aluminum is melted every year. A significant amount is lost to dross during primary and secondary melting operations. Typically, to overcome the dross loss, either a nitrogen cover or a chemical cover is used over the molten metal. A new method, that uses a cover of low-ionization air, has proven to be effective in significantly reducing the dross. The method, low-ionization plasma melting, and its impact on the environment and on melting energy efficiency are discussed in relation to some of the other historical innovations for aluminum processing.