Home > Waste Management Blog > Metal Recycling Has a Major Role in Economic and Environmental Outcomes

/recycling/metal-recycling/The scrap metal industry is a well-established and important means of recovering metal from products after their useful lives. It then goes for metal recycling, which has numerous benefits and plays a powerful role in supporting both economic and environmental outcomes.

Diverting scrap metal from landfills is highly successful in that it provides raw materials for the manufacture of new products, while also offering a lower carbon footprint and more efficient use of existing resources. Aside from the environmental benefits, metal recycling in America is an extremely lucrative activity – at the last count in 2010, it generated over $64 billion.

That said, however, there is still much work to be done for the metal recycling industry. In this regard, one recommendation made by the U.N. is to encourage product design that makes the separation of metal materials easier. Another is to improve collection systems and recycling technologies to keep pace with increasingly complex products created with a more diverse range of alloys and metals.

Aside from diverting materials from landfills, other significant benefits of metal recycling vs. creating new metal include a decrease in energy consumption and the use of other materials. For instance, recycled aluminum requires 95% less energy and copper needs 90% less. In addition, the recycling of 1 ton of metal avoids using 2,500 lbs. of iron ore, 1,400 lbs. of coal, and 120 lbs. of limestone.

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