From the nickel in your wallet to the aircraft that soars above you, just about everything in this world contains metal in varying proportions. Metal happens to be one of the most widely used material, and unlike plastic and paper, can be recycled infinite number of times, without any degradation in quality.
Recycling metal has plenty to offer, from energy conservation to environmental benefits. The infographic depicted below brilliantly captures the energy savings thanks to metal recycling. It says that the total energy savings can power 20 million American homes for one year! How exactly do we save energy? If we don’t recycle metal, we’d be drilling the earth for ores and procuring metals from them. Refining metals from ores is a lengthy and overly expensive process, requiring unimaginable amounts of water and petroleum. Simply put, getting metal from raw material is a lot costlier and time-consuming than recycling metal and reusing it.
Just imagine, the aluminum can that you used earlier today will be back up on the shelf in as little as three months, if you recycle it promptly, according to the recycling facts by California State University!
To give you another idea, recycling a ton of steel, one of the most widely used metal in the world today, saves 287 liters of oil, 642 KW of energy, and 2.3 cubic meters of landfill space, according to the Bureau of International Recycling. That speaks volumes, literally, for the amount of energy saved when we recycle metals.
And it’s not just energy conservation, recycling has tremendous advantages for the planet as well. The ores found in the earth’s belly are in limited supply, and are categorized as finite resources, something we have all read in our school. If we keep drilling them mindlessly, they’ll be exhausted, and then what? Something to think about? Ok, that’s one. Second, drilling and manufacturing new metals from mined ore not just consumes gobs of energy, it’s a major source of deforestation. Acres and acres of forests are cut down to clear land of trees for mining and drilling, which can also result in soil erosion. Manufacturing new metal also increases the emission of greenhouse gases, thereby increasing pollution.
How do you recycle Metal?
Most cities and towns offer curbside recycling programs, which pick up metal items to be recycled on certain days. If you aren’t aware of curbside recycling programs, find out if your community center or local supermarket accepts everyday metal items such as aluminum cans for recycling. Almost every town also has a metal recycling facility, which usually accepts all kinds of metals, and you can always look up the yellow pages to find one in your area. For instance, SIMS Metal Management has recycling centers spread all over the country and you can haul your junk and discarded metal to their center for recycling.
Recycling metals is extremely earth-friendly. It also has economic advantages for you! Selling scrap metal to the recycling facility can put some spare change in your pocket, and with the prices for scrap metal rising every day, it can be a good enough reason to propel you to visit the scrap yard once you accumulate enough pieces of junk!
It’s a plain and simple fact – if we continue to drill the earth for new ores without sparing a thought that they are limited in supply, future generations will run out of these precious resources. So observe the practice of recycling every piece of metal that you have, and contribute to waste reduction and saving the environment in your own small way.
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