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Why metal recycling is important

Most of us are pretty good these days at recycling. We wash and recycle our glass containers, we keep our paper and cardboard, and we may even know which plastic items are acceptable at our local facilities.

What we tend to overlook sometimes, however, is metal.

We usually remember to recycle Coke cans, and may also remember to include cans from soup, vegetables, and other foods, but what about metal from shelving units? How about bed frames?

There are many metal items that we can and should be recycling, and here are some of the reasons why:

Looking After our Resources

We do not have infinite resources, as nice as that would be. We need to be careful with what we have and continue to reuse whatever we can.

Metal is a wonderful resource in that it can be used over and over again, continually recycled and put to use in new forms without being depleted. So long as we continue to recycle it, it will not become junk.

A Reduction of Emissions

Mining for raw materials has a number of negative side-effects that can be avoided by recycling. Traditional mining methods can produce several hazards such as groundwater pollution and poisonous runoffs. The damage to the environment can take a great deal of time to heal.

Recycling scrap metal, on the other hand, uses less energy, does not cause the pollution of groundwater, and does not release the large number of greenhouse gasses that mining would, reducing the impact on air quality and potential respiratory health problems.

More Energy Efficient

A tremendous amount of energy is saved by recycling, as compared to extracting and processing raw materials. The exact amount saved varies by the type of material, ranging from a 56% reduction for steel, up to a remarkable 92% for aluminum.

To give you an idea of the savings, recycling a 6-pack of aluminum cans will save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for an entire 24-hour day.

Economic Benefits

The scrap metal industry provides thousands of Canadians with jobs, boosting the Canadian economy. Nearly 40,000 people are employed directly in the scrap metal industry, while another 120,000 jobs are indirectly provided, in both high- and low-skilled positions. This is a larger number of jobs than the waste industry.

Recycling also provides billions of dollars to Canada’s gross domestic product and saves the government money that can be spent in more beneficial ways.

Lowering of Prices

Given that it costs considerably more to mine for metal than to recycle it, consistent, extensive recycling can result in a lowering of prices. The lower cost of materials can in turn be passed on to consumers, who will be met with lower prices on metal goods, such as canned foods.

Ultimately, recycling metal results in a host of benefits. Whether you are thinking about helping to protect the environment, or simply considering the potential for a reduction in the price you pay for various goods, recycling metal simply makes sense.

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