An Overview of Metal Recycling, Its Importance, and Recycling
Metals can be recycled repeatedly without altering their properties. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), steel is the most recycled material on the planet. The other highly recycled metals include aluminum, copper, silver, brass, and gold.
Why Do We Recycle Metals?
Metals are valuable materials that can be recycled again and again without degrading their properties. Scrap metal has value, which motivates people to collect it for sale to recycling operations.
In addition to a financial incentive, there is also an environmental imperative. The recycling of metals enables us to preserve natural resources while requiring less energy to process than the manufacture of new products using virgin raw materials. Recycling emits less carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses. More importantly, it saves money and allows manufacturing businesses to reduce their production cost. Recycling also creates jobs.
Quick Metal Recycling Facts
Although almost every kind of metal can be recycled again and again without degradation of properties, currently, only 30 percent of metal is recycled. Below are some additional facts:
Nearly 40 percent of worldwide steel production is made using recycled steel.
Around 42 percent of crude steel in the United States is made of recycled materials.
In the United States alone, around 100 million steel and tin cans are used every day.
Steel and iron are the most recycled materials in the world due in part to the opportunity to recover large structures as well as the ease of reprocessing. The use of magnets in the sorting process enables recyclers to easily separate them from the mixed waste stream.
Every year, around 400 million tons of metal are recycled worldwide.
Currently, the single most recycled consumer product in the U.S. is the aluminum can.
Throwing away a single aluminum can waste energy equivalent to the same can filled with gasoline.
Types of Metals Recycled
Metals can be classified as ferrous, or non-ferrous. Ferrous metals are combinations of iron with carbon. Some common ferrous metals include carbon steel, alloy steel, wrought iron, and cast iron.
On the other hand, non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, and tin. Precious metals are non-ferrous. The most common precious metals include gold, platinum, silver, iridium, and palladium.