The 3 R's of recycling have become common terms, and even little kids know a bit about them. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Most people, however, only relate these three words to cardboard, cans, paper, plastic, bottles and so on, but not metals. People ought to be aware that more items can be recycled, including metals. The importance of metal recycling cannot be ignored as it has significant environmental and economic impacts. Recycling of metals to a great length reduces the bulk waste that is usually directed to landfills, prevents the invasion and interruptions of ecosystems through mining as less ore will be needed. Metal recycling also saves resources and reduces pollution.
Saves energy and conserves resources
A lot of energy is used when extracting metal from the metal ores. When scrap metal is recycled, energy consumption is significantly reduced. Recycling steel, for instance, saves up to 56% energy when compared to extracting it from iron ore. Aluminium, on the other hand, saves up to 92% energy. These two examples already demonstrate the importance of recycling metals. There is only so much metal ore on the planet to be mined. Recycling scrap metal is vital, and perhaps one of the only ways to preserve this precious but limited resource. The need for metal increases every day. Recycling ensures that there is (and always will be) enough supply for the world. Recycling meets up to 50% of Europe's need for copper and 55% demand for steel.
Prevents Waste and reduces pollution
Have you ever used any metal? Of course, you have. Most of the metal you use – and it's a lot – has already been recycled at least once. Just think about it, all of that metal would have been incinerated or dumped in the landfills. As a matter of fact, up to 145 million tons of scrap metal are redirected from the landfills annually. Recycling also reduces the amount of mining waste from the mining and processing of virgin ore. Metal ores have to be mined from the ground and processed to get metal to be used in the manufacture of various end products. Mining has adverse effects on the environment as the fields are left bare, and the aesthetic value of the land is lost. A lot of greenhouse gases are emitted when getting the metal from the ore. These gases often increase air pollution to detrimental levels in cities. The residents of these areas may end up having respiratory health complications