According to Statistica, about 60 million tons of scrap metal is recycled in the US each year—a figure that may surprise some people. Why is scrap metal recycling so popular?
It’s important to keep in mind that extracting and refining raw minerals is a labor-intensive—and therefore expensive—process. The creation of any consumer product or building creates scrap in the process. Rather than simply throwing these pieces out, they are instead recycled and re-used.
In fact, recycling scrap metal has benefits for the environment. Here’s why.
We mentioned that producing metal is costly—a lot of that cost is energy consumption. When a metal like aluminium is recycled, 90% less energy is used than if it were necessary to process virgin ore, allowing for a lower carbon footprint and fewer greenhouse gas emissions in the process. Similarly, recycled steel requires 50% less energy. To understand how this adds up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that recycling a single aluminium soda can saves energy equivalent of running a 60-watt light bulb for four hours straight. Now multiply that by tons!
Reduced Mining Activities
Even in the best of situations, mining is hard on the environment. Having a massive open-pit mine in the ground, along with dozens of construction vehicles, rarely adds up to an eco-friendly space, and the negative impact of mining has been well documented by environmental groups. Safewater.org even goes so far as to call clean water the industry’s most common casualty—soil and rock erosion from poorly assembled mining sites can smother local wildlife and muddy pristine waters.
By recycling scrap metal, we can reduce the impact of mining, which often contributes to environmental hazards in the form of habitat destruction, groundwater pollution, and destabilized geographical conditions. Ultimately, more recycling means less hazardous conditions.
Give Landfills a Break
You’ve probably heard about the issue of overflowing landfills here in the U.S. Every day, Americans throw out enough trash to fill about 63,000 garbage trucks. Recycling scrap metal helps to reduce the need for creating more space-consuming and potentially hazardous landfills. Like many recyclable materials, metal, thanks to its malleable properties, is a continuous resource that can be used again and again.
Recycling scrap metal is one way we can more successfully manage our limited resources, reduce our landfill usage, and better preserve the environment. Contact Allied Recycling Center today to find out more about just how easy recycling scrap metal can be.