Aside from glass, metal is one of the most recyclable materials on the planet. While most metals are not stamped with a recycling symbol (like many plastics are), it is still possible to easily recycle metal in most areas. Here are five little known facts about recycling metals.
It Creates Significant Reductions in Carbon Dioxide Emissions
According The Baltimore County Maryland Department of Public Works, seven million tons of metal were recycled in 2007. These green efforts reduced the amount of carbon dioxide in the environment, and estimates suggest that this had the same effect as taking 45 million cars off the road. By recycling metal, significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions are being made.
Five to 10 Percent of Landfill Waste is Metal
Unfortunately, most metals take between 50 and 100 years to decompose. Luckily, the recycling and disposal services in most areas make it simple and convenient to recycle metals. Most cities in the U.S. are willing to pick up aluminum cans and containers while most scrap yards will accept and recycle copper, brass, steel and iron. Scrap yards will often accept large appliances and car parts, which can be broken down for their metal parts.
Consumers Use More Aluminum Than Any Other Metal
Americans use approximately 120,000 units of aluminum every minute, according to environmentally friendly Earth 911. This includes pop cans, soup cans and pet food cans. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for three hours or keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours.
Creating new cans from recycled ones is so easy that it takes 95 percent less energy than creating a new can from virgin aluminum. This means that 20 cans can be created with recycled metal using the same amount of energy that it takes to make one single can out of virgin aluminum.
The process of recycling aluminum is so fast that the aluminum you leave out for your recycling collection services will normally be back on the grocery store shelf in less than two months. In spite of this, Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild the country\’s entire fleet of commercial aircraft with tossed out metal.
Most Homes are Full of Copper and Brass
Copper and brass are found in water pipes, electrical wires, and even cookware. Most communities, however, do not offer curbside pickup for these materials. If you remove these metals during a renovation, don\’t just throw them in the dumpster! To recycle these metals, consumers need to visit a scrap yard where they may even receive cash for their old metal. Although most scrap yards will pay for copper, 30 percent of the world’s supply is in landfills.
Steel Manufacturers Have Been Recycling
CNN has reported that all steel items contain at least 25 percent scrap metal, but manufacturers have not turned to recycled steel to be green. Instead, they have made that choice because using recycled steel improves their bottom line. Scrap metal takes 75 percent less energy to create than virgin steel.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most steel items in the U.S. consist of 25 to 100 percent recycled steel. Using recycled steel in the manufacturing of cars, appliances and building materials reduces the usage of water by 40 percent, and it cuts air pollution by over 85 percent.
Recycling metal is a green decision and an economically attractive one. With a small amount of effort, most consumers can easily recycle the metal they no longer need. In some cases, they may even be able to make a little extra money for their efforts.
Author Bio: Emily says her life hasn\’t been the same since Pinterest joined the social scene. She loves looking for new ideas and sharing them through her blogs.