Why is it important to recycle metal?

History of metal recycling

Of the 784 million tons of steel produced annually worldwide, about 43% is recycled from scrap. This is equivalent to the weight of 150 Eiffel Towers or 1.2 million cars every day.

Recycling metals contributes significantly to not worsening the current pollution situation, as recycling scrap metal reduces water, air and waste pollution by 70%.

The main sources of steel scrap come from the obsolescence of consumer goods, such as old automobiles, household appliances, cans and steel jars, old buildings and structures, not to mention scrap from industrial waste. The recycling rate, defined as the ratio of the amount of scrap actually recycled to the amount of scrap produced, is around 80% on a global basis.

Steel products have a long life, which is why it is a material with a high demand, which cannot be fully satisfied by the recycling process, which is why it is necessary to produce new steel as a supplement from primary sources of iron ore.

What metals can be recycled

Metal recycling is the process that aims to convert product waste into raw materials that can be reused. Metal recycling reduces the consumption of new raw materials, prevents the waste of materials that can be reused, reduces electrical energy consumption and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, water and air pollution.

The vast majority of metals, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, can be melted and reprocessed to obtain metallic raw materials. Iron, steel, aluminum, copper, lead, silver and gold are metals that can be easily recycled if they are not mixed with other substances because they can be melted down to change shape or adopt the previous form. Iron is the metal that is in greatest commercial demand for the uses it has: obtaining structural steels, cast iron and wrought iron. It is a mineral that is distributed throughout the world and is the most widely used metal, accounting for 95% of the world’s metal production. Aluminum recycling is increasing because, for example, one can requires only a fraction of the energy needed to make a new can from raw materials. The recovery and recycling of all these metals is a major source of raw materials.

How to recycle metal at home

Although when we think of polluting materials, plastic often comes to mind, there are many more that pose a great problem for the environment if they are not treated correctly.    Ferrous material such as aluminum, metal, brass or bronze should be recovered or recycled, to reduce water and air pollution and save a lot of energy. In INAGEN we are specialists in the recovery of metallic waste and we offer an integral service to those companies that want to dispose of metallic waste for their production and for those that need a company to manage the waste produced by their activity.

The recovery of metal waste and its reuse is essential for the survival of the environment, allowing us to enjoy a material indefinitely and in an optimized and efficient way and promoting the circular economy. The fight against programmed obsolescence is achieved and a more sustainable and efficient use of metals is made, achieving a lower impact on the environment.

Recycling metals examples

Metals are one of the most polluting industrial inputs worldwide, not only because of their presence in the environment, but also because of all that their industrial processes imply in terms of waste, also known as “scrap”. In addition, the deposits from which metals such as steel are extracted are being exploited to their maximum, making recycling a vital solution for this sector.

In the case of aluminum, it is one of the most widely used metals in various Mexican industries. To understand the importance of recycling, here is an example: the energy saved by recycling a single can could keep a television on for 3 hours. Recycling aluminum reduces the contamination derived from its treatment by up to 95%. In Mexico, 97% of aluminum cans are recycled; however, the remaining metal is sold to other countries to be reused.

After collection, each metal is treated differently. While aluminum is melted and molded into huge ingots to create cans again, steel undergoes chemical fragmentation processes to eliminate any remaining metals or other substances.