Thinking of recycling your scrap metal? Here’s something to convince you.
Metal recycling is a common practice. Recycling metals is a more economically and environmentally viable way to obtain and use metals as it uses less energy than metal production. In addition, metal can withstand continual recycling without losing quality, making it a popular area for companies to survey when conducting an environmental waste audit. All ferrous metals from iron to stainless steel can be recycled, as well as non-ferrous metals such as copper, zinc, and aluminium, making it easy for businesses to bundle scrap metal together for collection.
It’s even possible to recover precious metals such as gold, palladium, silver and platinum from computers.
As if this wasn’t enough, there’s also something in it for you. As well as the excess energy it saves, recycling metals can save your company money. You’ll find you spend less on production once you recycle scrap metal rather than reproducing it, so there’s no reason not to get started. But just for good measure, we’ve listed our top five reasons why it’s vital to recycle metals.
Why Is It Important to Recycle Metals?
1. To preserve natural resources. Recycling metal replaces the need to produce virgin metal. In turn, this preserves precious natural resources like coal and iron ore used in metal production. It’s essential to consider resources like coal, as its combustion is a top contributor to climate change. In 2010, coal accounted for 43% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this climate issue has perpetuated ever since. As it simultaneously uses less energy and cuts down on using natural resources, recycling metals is an environmental activity — and an easy way to take corporate responsibility.
2. To best use raw materials. Metals are amongst the few raw materials easily recycled without damaging their original properties. This means there isn’t any real reason to create new metal — apart from to meet increased demand. The recycling process can be repeated as many times as needed, even with valuable metals such as aluminium.
The list of recyclable metals is extensive, with only radioactive metals (uranium, plutonium) and toxic metals such as lead and mercury prohibited. There aren’t many disadvantages to recycling metals, but a total waste management company can help you deal with any issues. Scrap metal recycling facilities will always accept a wide range of metals like steel, as operators know the value of metal won’t decrease.
3. To offset your business’s carbon emissions. There’s an increasing emphasis on companies recycling all raw materials to achieve ambitious “zero to landfill” targets. Recycling metals is an environmental alternative to other forms of disposal, as it cuts down emissions and reduces air pollution. By recycling metals, you’re contributing to your business’s carbon goals. Above all, the recycling process will help eliminate pollution from the atmosphere and encourage others to make the most of metal’s versatile usage.
A tonne of aluminium recycled saves nine tonnes of CO2 emissions from being released into the atmosphere. The Planet Mark environmental foundation confirms that every tonne of aluminium recycled conserves five tonnes of bauxite — the raw material from which aluminium is made.
4. To save money by reducing production costs. Recycling metals offers financial incentives and there’s no shame in benefiting from these. Most companies recycle on the basis that it’s cheaper to do so, allowing you to drive down production costs (and convert this spend into collection costs). It’s much more affordable to use existing waste metal than to create it from scratch.
5. To meet recycling industry standards. As people grow more concerned about the environment, the recycling industry is putting additional pressure on businesses to recycle. Companies are expected to recycle materials where possible, with metal recycling being a huge part of this. Needless to say, if you have scrap metal lying around on-site, you should take action. You’re also benefiting the economy by recycling metals as the recycling industry provides employment in waste facilities.
Metal items can be hard to recycle, but the benefits far outweigh any difficulties. The key to recovering all the value from metal is effective segregation and quality control before it finds its way to a metal recycler.
How to Recycle Metals
Metal recycling works by going through a four-stage process of segregation, preparation, burning and formation. If you’re looking to recycle metals within your business, you won’t have to worry about these operations, but it helps if you can identify the types of scrap metal you’ll be providing. When recycling metals, facilities must follow strict health and safety and environmental regulations, as several elements and types of machinery are involved in the process.
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Curious about recycling metals? Learn about the entire process in our blog, How Does Metal Recycling Work?
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