aluminum can

Facts About Recycling Metal


Quick Facts
1.  Iron and steel are the world's most recycled materials and among the easiest materials to recprocess.  This is due to the ability to incorporate magnets in the waste stream separation process.

2.  42% of crude steel is made from recycled material.

3.  The aluminum can is the most recycled consumer product in the United States.

4.  The aluminum beverage can industry uses more aluminum than any other industry.

5.  Roughly 70% of all metal is used only once and then thrown away.  The remaining 30% is recycled.  After 5 cycles only .25% (one quarter of one percent) of the original metal remains in circulation.

6.  When you throw away an aluminum can you are wasting the equivalent amount of energy of filling up that same can with gasoline and pouring it on the ground.

7.  In as little as 60 days a recycled aluminum can is able to be back on the supermarket shelf.

8.  In the United States over 100 million tin and steel cans are used every day.

9.  Mining wastes, air pollution, and water pollution are reduced by about 70% when a steel mill uses recycled metal scraps.

10.  Huge magnets collect millions of steel cans every day by pulling them out of garbage.

11.  Over 60% of all cans in a supermarket are made of steel.

Metal Recycling
Metal, in general, is an easily recyclable material. Steel and aluminum are two of the most common types of metals in use and both can be recycled. The recycling of metals does not stop with aluminum cans. A few consumer items that can be recycled are household appliances, cars, stainless steel items, and empty propane tanks. Other common recyclable items include auto parts, doors and windows, and parts of demolished buildings.  

The metals listed below are just a few of the types of metal that can be recycled:

- Aluminum
- Iron
- Steel (including stainless steel)
- Iron
- Copper
- Lead
- Tin
- Zinc
- Brass
- Bronze
- Magnesium


While larger items may need to be picked up by a company specializing in metal recycling, consumers can usually have their municipalities pick up aluminum and steel items for recycling, making it easy for individuals to contribute to the recycling initiative.  Some delivery companies will pick up old household appliances when they deliver a new appliance to a home. These companies will often be able to salvage the metals and turn a profit.  If a consumer chooses to bring his recyclable metals to a facility himself, he may be able to find a company that will pay him in return for the scrap metals he is able to provide. Larger appliances, such as washers and refrigerators, can be picked up by these companies as well.

Environmental Benefits
Recycling helps keep metal waste out of landfills where they would they would pollute the soil and water, posing a health hazard to humans and wildlife.  Recycling metals also conserves high amounts of energy. Metals can be recycled and used again and endless number of times, thus resulting in substantial energy savings over the long term.  When aluminum is recycled, 95% less energy is consumed, while recycled iron and steel use 74% less energy and copper uses 85% less energy.

In addition to the energy savings, purchasing and using recycled metal also saves valuable natural resources that would otherwise be removed from the environment. By choosing recycled aluminum products, manufacturers use much less bauxite ore.


More articles about recycling metal:
Scrap Recycling