Many are surprised to come to know that steel is the World’s most recycled material. Scrap metal can be recycled and re-used again for an indefinite number of times. Recycling metals means preserving some of the nature’s most limited resources.
Scrap metal originates both in business and residential environments. Unlike waste, metal scrap has a monetary value and the steel industry has been actively recycling various metals for more than 150 years.
The metal recycling industry encompasses a wide range of metals. The more frequently recycled metals are scrap steel, iron (ISS), lead, aluminium, copper, stainless steel and zinc.
There are two main categories of metals:
- Ferrous metals: which contain iron;
- Non-Ferrous: metals without iron.
Non-ferrous metals also include a wide range of precious (gold, silver, platinum, etc) and exotic metals (mercury, tungsten, bismuth etc.).
Recycling ferrous scrap metal is beneficial to the World’s environment. Besides the fact that it is much cheaper to recycle ferrous metal than to mine virgin ore, the following important advantages are:
- 75% savings in energy;
- 90% saving in raw materials used;
- 86% reductions in air pollution;
- 40% reduction in water use;
- 76% reduction in water pollution.
In a “greenhouse” gas constrained future, energy is one of the most important benefits of metal recycling. Energy savings from recycling non-ferrous metals:
- Aluminium: 95%
- Copper: 85%
- Lead: 65%
- Zinc: 60%