Following the posting of this infographic from the British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA), we thought it would be worthwhile expanding on the importance of recycling metal, and recycling in general, since it is core to our existence.
The beauty of metal is that it can be melted down, reformed and reused time and time again without losing any of its beneficial qualities. Metal is not a renewable resource so we can keep virgin iron ore in the ground by recycling what is already in circulation.
Firstly, metal recycling conserves the earth’s natural resources by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and it uses less energy than making new metal products made from virgin iron ore. Making new products by recycling waste metals releases far less greenhouse gas emissions compared with the production of new metal from iron ore. That’s a pretty good point to start with.
Did you know that metals can be indefinitely recycled due to their unique properties? Furthermore, that using steel scrap in steel manufacturing reduces CO2 emissions by 58%. Using steel scrap to make new steel also reduces air pollution by 86%, water use by 40% and water pollution by 76%.
It also protects the environment. Mining for virgin iron ore can take its toll on the environment by damaging natural habitats as well as polluting the surrounding air, water and soil.
The metal recycling industry is also a major player in our local and national economy. It is a £5 billion industry in the UK, employing over 8,000 people. From an economic point of view, the more we all recycle our metal, the more money the country can save freeing up the government to potentially spend budgets in other important areas. Also, because it’s cheaper to recycle than mine for new iron ore, long-term it could mean we see the price of products made from metal reduce (cans etc) – but only if we all recycle our metal items.
The circular economy is an important point to note in the transition to a net zero economy. By keeping products in use for longer we see produce less waste. Our aim is zero waste to landfill by keeping existing material in use for longer. On top of this, metals that are sent to landfill are not only a waste of resources, but also creates heavy metal deposits through leaching which could, if released, negatively impact the eco system.
There are many more reasons to for us all to be recycling our waste metals, these are just a few of the more poignant points.
We strongly believe that if we all play our part in making sure our waste is recycled efficiently, we can make a huge impact on our local, national and global environments and preserve the earth’s natural resources for future generations.