How Recycling Metal is Eco Friendly

The 21st Century has brought with it the pressing understanding that we have certain responsibilities towards our planet. After centuries of pollution and resource depletion, it is about time that we give back to the environment and conserve what is left. Of course, the way we live our lives and conduct businesses has not changed by much – our carbon footprint still remains comparatively large. This is where recycling metal comes in. The process of recycling metal has become consistently popular over the last few decades. With the rising price of steel per pound and other popular metals recycling metal is not only a good way to protect the planet but has the ability to be very lucrative way.

Recycling Metal at a Glance

From individuals, governments, and municipalities to manufacturers, corporations, and demolition industrial recovery projects the recycling of scrap metal has become a priority for many. The top three reasons for recycling metal include the evidence that show it to be eco-friendly, simple, and profitable.  

According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), more than 150 million metric tons of scrap metals are recycled by the United States every single year. This includes millions of tons of iron, steel, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, lead, zinc, brass, bronze, tin, and magnesium. The mammoth scrap recycling industry helped create more than 85,000 jobs and generated a whopping $86 billion in 2008 alone. As the price of steel continues to grow so does the price of other metals. 

Copper: One of the most recycled metals in the country is copper, a non-renewable resource. Not only does recycled copper have 90 percent of the value of newly made copper, but it is also 15 percent more economical and less-resource intensive to produce. Fun fact: it would take 25,000 Statues of Liberty to create the amount of copper that the United States recycles each year.

Steel: More than 100 million cans made of steel and tin are used by Americans every single day. When you account for appliances, junk cars, trucks, heavy equipment, cast iron, and other recyclable steel products, it is easy to understand why the scrap metal recycling industry has grown to be one of the largest in the world. Recycling steel uses 60 percent less energy than manufacturing from virgin ore would.

Go Green by Recycling Metal

Recycling is a green alternative. However, many questions arise when it comes to the recycling metal process. Is the chemical process counter-productive? Does it create more pollution than mining? The truth is that scrap metal recycling is infinitely more efficient as compared to traditional mining processes. It also costs less energy to recycle scrap metal than it does to extract and refine raw metals.

Mining is a cost-intensive process that requires a lot of fossil-fuel input. Mining also hurts the environment by causing groundwater pollution, destruction of habitats, poisonous runoff, and more. These environmental hazards can be kept at bay by simply choosing to recycle the scrap metal we have. Recycling requires a minimum amount of fuel input, it does not cause groundwater pollution or unstable geological conditions, and it also does not leave open mines that scar the face of our planet for generations to come.

As compared to mining virgin ore, recycling metal greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of energy conserved by using recycled scrap metal instead of mining virgin ore is approximately 92 percent for aluminum, 90 percent for copper, and 56 percent for steel.

In order to manufacture one ton of steel from virgin ore, more than 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 120 pounds of limestone, and 1,400 pounds of coal are required. So when you recycle steel (check the price of steel here) and cast iron products, you create one ton of recycled steel that saves 56 percent of energy, and conserves natural resources that are depleting quickly.

Make a Difference by Recycling Metal

Most of these statistics take into account big numbers and may have you wondering how this relates to you. When it comes to recycling scrap metal, every piece counts. For example, recycling scrap aluminum takes only 5 percent of the energy that would be used to make brand new aluminum. How does this apply to you? Recycling a single aluminum can saves enough energy to operate a computer for 3 hours, a television for 2 hours, and a 100W light bulb for more than 20 hours.

Other than the environmental benefits, recycling scrap metals reduces waste, and frees up landfill space. Products fashioned out of scrap metal are generally sold at more affordable prices, simply because the end-to-end cost to manufacture the product is reduced. This makes it more cost-effective for the buyer, while presenting a greener product choice.

Not only is recycling metal easy and eco-friendly, it can also help you earn some money. Whether you have copper utensils and wires, brass, aluminum, stainless steel products, or other products like A/C units, electronic scrap, high temp alloys, even cars and trucks, you can choose to sell your scrap metal, reduce your carbon footprint by taking an eco-friendly step, and make some money while you are at it!