In the society of today, recycling is more prevalent than ever. We are encouraged to recycle whenever we can, but what happens to the things we do recycle? Where do they end up?
Metal is one of the major materials that can be recycled. Aluminum, iron, steel, copper and brass can all be recycled and reused, more than once, to make new products. Not only is it easy to use the scrap metal to make new products but it also reduces the need for new mining. It makes economical sense to recycle and reuse materials where possible and by doing this we can cut CO2 emissions, air and water pollution. When you bear in mind that the average household uses over 600 food tins and 380 drinks cans per year, it isn’t difficult to see how this energy can be saved.
How scrap metal is used differs depending on the metal. Some of the most commonly recycled metals are aluminum and steel, which can be recycled over and over again without losing their quality. The benefit of this is that the recycled metals can be used to make the same items. They are commonly used to make new food packaging – often the packaging will carry a mark to let you know that it has been recycled, and it can take as little as 8 weeks for a tin to be bought at the supermarket, used, recycled and make its way back to the supermarket. Most food tins contain at least a percentage of scrap metal if they are not made from 100% recycled metal. Recycled aluminum is also commonly used in the construction industry, alongside scrap iron, particularly in the building of bridges and roads. Other uses include the manufacture of aircraft, cars and even home furnishings.