We’ve all seen the reduction in general waste in our homes as the result of recycling over the past decade and are now much more aware of our own impact on the environment. From picking locally sourced and farmed meat and vegetables to shunning plastic packaging we’re now actively doing what we can to help reduce our carbon footprint. And while it is easy to see the benefits of household recycling what about the benefits of scrap metal recycling? In this blog, we’ll take a look at the true value of scrap metal recycling.
Reduced need for mining
One of the most obvious benefits of recycling scrap metal is that it lessens the need for raw materials to be mined. Mining is an incredibly invasive activity which has a negative impact on the environment. As well as releasing toxic compounds, minerals, and radioactive elements into the air and water it leads to sinkhole formations, contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water and destruction of wildlife habitats.
And while we’re still reliant on mining we are starting to see an overall reduction in the amount of raw material being mined compared to recycled. In the UK around half of all manufactured metal is now made up of recycled materials.
Metal recycling is also a lot better for the environment from an energy usage point of view. Recycling aluminum and steel uses approximately 95% less energy than producing the metal using raw materials. And while this is a massive energy saving currently only around 30% of the world’s metal is currently being recycled.
From a pollution point of view, recycling is far better for the environment than using raw materials to create new metal. According to the EPA, scrap metal recycling reduces air pollution by 85%, leads to a 76% reduction in water pollution and brings about an unbelievable 105% reduction in consumer waste. A reduction in air pollution helps stop global warming while less consumer waster and water pollution helps to protect our oceans from harmful chemicals and waste.
Conserve natural resources
Scrap metal recycling is just one of the ways that we can help conserve our natural resources and lessen our impact on the environment. Processes such as mining unnecessarily deplete natural reserve deposits of metals and cause a lot of pollution along the way. By recycling scrap metal more efficiently we can reduce our reliance on mining and other processes that are depleting our natural resources.
Today the UK scrap metal recycling industry is worth around £7 billion with the majority of the UK’s scrap metal being exported worldwide. In fact, the UK is one of the five largest exporters of scrap metal in the world. An impressive feat considering our size.
The metals recycling industry is highly regulated in the UK with all dealers needing the correct licenses. Scrap metal recycling companies add a lot of value to the UK economy with businesses ranging in size from small family owned operators to larger national organisations all of which are committed to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of scrap metal.