People use and discard huge amounts of metal annually, which comes anywhere from things such as small beverage cans to different parts from no longer operable machines and vehicles. Around 100 million tons of scrap is recycled each year according the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. This comprises of approximately 40% of the world’s available metal that is used for manufacturing. Metal recycling is beneficial in multiple ways. These include:
Scrap or no longer used metal recycling has multiple benefits for the environment. When equated to making products from recycled metals, the production of new metals from mined ore releases huge amounts of greenhouse gasses that are very destructive to the environment. For instance, these gases are known to influence changes in the climate and can also cause harmful levels of air pollution in large cities. This results in potential respiratory health issues for the masses. Recycling metals reduces the said greenhouse gas emissions in a much significant way, and hence benefiting our environment.
Recycling scrap metals produces 30 times more jobs compared to sending the same amount of metal waste to the incinerator, and six times more than disposing of the metals to the landfills. Also according to the National Recycling Coalition, metal recycling industry generates more than 230 million dollars each year and employs millions of people across the country.
So we can say that metal recycling is not only a way of assisting the planet, but also a chance for higher profitability, or getting better prices to the customers, or both. In purchasing fewer new materials, and recycling more waste metals, there are clearly positive economic as well as environmental gains.
There is only a limited amount of metal ore remaining in our planet. As such, metal recycling reduces the amount of virgin metal ore required to be mined by offering manufacturers with a source of already mined metal. Recycling a pound of steel saves approximately 1.25 lbs. of virgin ore, while aluminum conserves around 4lbs. of bauxite ore.
Recycling metal saves energy that could otherwise be used in ore drilling, metal refining, and so forth. However, it should be noted that that energy conservation levels vary from one product being recycled to the other. Recycling steel conserves around 60% of energy while recycling aluminum utilizes 95% less energy compared to deriving it from virgin ore. If a single aluminum beverage can is recycled, enough energy to power a single 60-watt light bulb for more than five hours is conserved.
So we can comfortably say that recycling discarded metals is more beneficial compared to throwing disposing them of in the landfills. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that discarded metals account for most solid waste recovered for recycling compared to other recycling materials. This makes metal the second-largest segment of recycling industry after paper. All in all, the process of recycling metals consists of a number of steps including collection, sorting, shredding, baling and melting, and finally fabrication. It is important to understand these steps so as to maximise on your recycling efforts in Canada.