With numerous industries around the world utilising large quantities of metal, scrap metal is projected to pile up. Metal products may seem like nothing more than rubbish, but there is more to scrapping metal than meets the eye. Scrap metal recycling has an immense effect on the environment and plays a crucial role in the recycling industry.
Scrap metal recycling is a major driver in the global economy. Each year, 400 billion kg of metal is recycled globally; America alone recycles 150 billion kg of scrap metal annually. In the UK, 70 percent of all aluminium is recycled.
Industrial operations have turned to using recycled metals as well. Nearly 40 percent of the world’s steel usage is made up of recycled steel. Global demand for copper is 40 percent met by using recycled copper, while global zinc demand is 30 percent met with recycled metal.
Why Recycle Scrap Metal?
Apart from its economic benefits, scrap metal plays a vital role in preserving our environment. Metals are highly useful materials that can be recycled more than once. The more we utilise recycled metals, the fewer raw materials we have to use to manufacture new metal products. For example, recycling one ton of steel conserves 1,100 kg of iron ore, 54 kg of limestone and 35 kg of coal.
Cutting down on manufacturing saves energy, allowing us to allocate more energy resources to other tasks, such as heating and lighting. Recycling also produces less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
There are financial advantages to recycling. As it saves money and resources, it also creates more jobs. Scrap metal still possesses value, which is why some people acquire significant amounts of it to sell.
The Difference Between Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals
It is important to look at the different types of scrap metal because their composition determines the best way to handle them. The two different types of scrap metal are ferrous and non-ferrous. As the names imply, ferrous metals are made from iron ore, while non-ferrous metals are not.
Ferrous metals include metals such as iron, steel and their other varieties. They are used primarily for their high tensile strength and durability. They are created mainly using carbon, making them more vulnerable to rust (with the exception of wrought iron and stainless steel).
Non-ferrous metals include aluminium, brass, copper, nickel, tin, zinc and lead. They are more lightweight than ferrous metals and are more resistant to rust and corrosion, hence their usage in water pipes, gutters and roofing. Their non-magnetic properties make them more suited to small electronics and electrical wiring. They are more malleable than ferrous metals.
Since ferrous metals are more susceptible to rust, they are not always salvageable. Though not all ferrous alloys rust the same, they are more at risk of rust than non-ferrous scrap metals, which don’t degrade or corrode over time.
Scrap metal recycling is highly beneficial to the environment. Consider sending your used metal items to your local scrap metal merchants. One man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure, as they say.
In need of a reliable recycling and scrap collection service? Contact LKM Recycling today for all your recycling needs