The process of recycling different materials has long been studied and debated as to how beneficial it is when it comes to the environment. The truth is, it depends on the kind of material being recycled. Metal, for instance, is one of those materials that are extremely beneficial not only to the environment but even for the economy when recycled. Let’s explore some of these benefits in this guide.
What is Metal Recycling?
Metal recycling is the process of taking or collecting used metal objects and transforming them into new materials. In the case of metal objects that can be transformed in the manufacturing of new materials, it is said to be a secondary source for metals. This is because the metals are not mined from underneath the earth but from objects that we have already used.
Types of Metal Recycling
All metals, when recycled, can all be used for different purposes. Unfortunately, only a few are used for the same purpose. They’re typically categorized between ferrous and non-ferrous metals or those that do not contain iron. Here are some examples of metals used for recycling:
Aluminium – Aluminum is one of the most commonly used metals when it comes to metal recycling. Aluminium is considered the most recycled metal when it comes to metal recycling.
The majority of the products that we use today utilize aluminium either in the form of cans or even in things like your toilet. However, it is essential to note that not all aluminium cans are made with old aluminium. These are typically referred to as secondary aluminium and require specific recycling processes.
Steel – Steel has become a popular choice when it comes to metal recycling, especially since it is used to create other metals like copper. However, it should be noted that steel is only recycled when it is collected by a specialist company. If not, you would end up damaging the environment with the toxic waste that is produced during the refining process.
Copper – Copper, like steel, is also a popular choice when it comes to recycling metals. This is because it is used to create a number of different metals. It is also used to make things like solar panels, electric cables and even coins. Copper is also considered one of the most recycled metals when it comes to metal recycling to date.
Iron – Iron is also another example of a very commonly used metal for metal recycling. This is because of the fact that it is used in a number of different ways. Iron is also used to create different metals that can be used in the manufacturing of life-saving equipment like medical devices and other things.
Zinc – Zinc is another important metal when it comes to metal recycling. This is because it is used to create a number of different metals, including bronze and brass. Zinc is also used to create different alloys of metal that are used in the production of life-saving equipment.
Why the Need for Metal Recycling?
There are thousands of different ways in which we can use these metals to help improve our economy and the environment. If these metals were to be used without being recycled, they would lead to a number of problems when it comes to the environment.
Here are some of the benefits that can be derived by recycling these metals:
1. Save on Greenhouse Emissions
The recycling of metals may not seem like it’s enough to save on greenhouse emissions, but it does. According to a research report published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, when recycled metals are used in the manufacturing of new products, it can significantly cut greenhouse emissions.
It was stated that less than one per cent of greenhouse emissions are produced as a result of using metals that have been recycled. This is significantly less than the number of greenhouse emissions that are produced as a result of using virgin metals.
2. Decrease in Fossil Fuel Emissions
Using recycled metals also helps to prevent fossil fuel emissions. This is because recycled metals are not obtained by digging or digging out of the ground. This means that no gasses or massive amounts of energy are needed in order to get these metals out of the ground.
3. Increase in GDP Growth in the UK
A study published by the International Journal of Environment and Pollution showed that the recycling of metals could help to boost the gross domestic product (GDP) growth by up to 15% in the UK. This is because the government would spend less money on the extraction of new metals. This is because when these metals are recycled, the process can be much easier and cheaper.
4. Save on Energy
A large number of metals are commonly used in the manufacturing of products that are used by the automotive and other industries. All of these materials need to be processed and refined before they can be used to make any product.
Luckily, metal recycling has proven to be very beneficial in this aspect. This is due to the fact that the process of refining metal products is a lot more efficient when compared to mining.
5. Reduce Pollution Levels
The International Journal of Environment and Pollution study also found that the recycling process used in the production of metals can help to reduce the pollution level of a number of different water bodies. This is because when these metals are recycled, less energy is needed in order to refine these metals. This means that less toxic waste can be produced when compared to the manufacturing of new metals.
6. Keep Metals Out of Landfills
If the metals that we have been using were to be thrown in the trash, they would end up in landfills. This is because they would be taking up a lot of space that is not being used and would lead to increased waste. The production of these metals, even after being recycled, also leads to a number of toxic waste. When recycled, it can significantly reduce the amount of toxic waste that is produced.
7. Reduce Our Dependence on Primary Resources
One of the great things about metal recycling is that we can reduce our dependence on primary sources of natural resources. If we are able to use these recycled metals, we can then be able to manufacture more products and use them for other purposes.
It will also help the economy since it is less dependent on these natural resources.
With all of the benefits that we can derive from the recycling of metals, it is only fitting that we do everything in our power to help recycle them. This will help benefit the environment and the economy at the same time. This is also why it is essential to encourage the recycling of metals.
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