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Four of the Most Popular Scrap Metals That Can Be Recycled

Posted on 21 December 2016

Most scrap metals are easy, practical, and profitable to recycle. And whether the scrap is collected domestically, or by scrap metal businesses, most of the scrap finds its way to a processing facility. The thing is, metal holds its value far better than the other recycled materials, like paper or glass. More than that, most metals can be recycled over and over again, without losing their integrity.  It’s therefore crucial that discarded metal be recycled wherever and whenever possible. It makes excellent economic sense, while having a positive effect on the environment. Effective recycling also diverts unnecessary waste from landfill sites, and forestalls the need to mine virgin ores.


Somehow, lead is not that notable as a recyclable metal. It is, however, one of the most common metals in the recycling landscape. For more serious collectors, lead is found in old car batteries, many building materials, and scientific equipment. If not reclaimed and recycled, lead is disposed in landfill sites, and can easily leech into groundwater, harming the ecosystem. This is a primary cause of lead-contaminated water, and a cause of many health issues, some of them quite serious. Beyond the environmental concerns, lead is ideal for recycling because it’s used to make new products without having to use virgin materials. As well, discarded lead does not become waste.


Aluminum is unique – it doesn’t lose any of its a in the recycling process. Unlike some of the other metals, the physical structure of aluminum doesn’t change when melting. Best of all, aluminum recycling requires only 5% of the energy compared to producing new aluminum. This metal continues to be one of the most widely used in industry, with aluminum cans being the most recycled material in the world. Recycled aluminum is used in food packaging; high power wires; and in practically every aspect of construction. Discarded aluminum usually has quite an attractive scrap value, and the recycling process has a low energy demand compared to others.


Copper is found everywhere: in plumbing pipes; electrical cables; and automotive components. Around the world, practically 50% of industry demand is satisfied regularly with recycled copper product. Using recycled copper dramatically minimizes the need for mining and processing, and of course, the waste copper is not going to landfill. Copper recycling actually saves energy mainly because the process only requires 10% of the energy compared to mining copper. And since less energy is being consumed during the recycling process, carbon dioxide emissions are reduced and the environment is less threatened. Copper recycling makes economic sense from end to end.


Recycled steel can be used in a number of applications, as an alternative to manufacturing new steel. Like many other metals, recycling steel only needs a fraction of the energy compared to the manufacturing process associated with new steel. Industry wide, the more steel that’s recycled, the more reliable the supplies are for industry manufacturers. Oftentimes, this makes for cheaper steel, hence allowing for reduced prices on finished products. Whether it’s for huge projects like shipbuilding, or smaller manufactured products for home and office, recycled steel makes good business sense for manufacturers and consumers alike.

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