The Benefits of Recycling Scrap Metal

You’re most likely aware of the large-scale scrap metal recycling industry, however you may be surprised by its size of it. A significant amount of the metal that ends up in finished products like appliances and structural steel is recycled or “recovered.” This brave new world has some obvious and not-so-obvious benefits for the economy, the environment and the average consumer.

Earth-Friendly Practices

Scrap metal recycling is less energy-intensive and more efficient than extracting and refining raw metals through traditional mining processes. Whereas mining, produces a number of environmental hazards, including poisonous runoff, groundwater pollution, habitat destruction and unstable geological conditions. Something else to consider is that most types of mining require large inputs of fossil fuels.

Recycling scrap metal requires fossil fuel inputs as well. However, it’s generally regarded as less energy-intensive than mining. It also doesn’t subsidize to groundwater pollution or create physical scars on the environment that can take hundreds of years to heal. After all, recycling plants don’t require massive open-pit mines to perform their work.

Waste Reduction, Space Production

Scrap metal recycling frees up landfill space for true junk like discarded food matter and non-recyclable plastics. Since many recyclable metal products are quite bulky, continued growth in the scrap metal recycling rate is likely to reduce the need for unsightly, space-consuming new landfills near our population centers.

Tangible Economic Benefits

The recycling business is fairly labor-intensive, and studies have shown that it contributes tens of billions of dollars to the country’s gross domestic product. In 2013 alone, a seminal study by the Institute for Scrap Metal Recycling found that nearly 500,000 jobs had been created by the industry. Total federal, state and local tax receipts from the activities of scrap metal recycling outfits added up to more than $10 billion. Across all 50 states, the industry generated about $90 billion in economic activity.

Benefits for Consumers and End-Users

Recycling scrap metal has plenty of assorted benefits for consumers and businesses as well. If you’ve ever sold an old car to your local wholesaler for “parts,” the amount that you were paid was based in large part on the value of the metal in your vehicle. Payments for old vehicles provide down-on-their-luck consumers with valuable infusions of liquidity during tough times.

Scrap metal is also used to produce plenty of new products that don’t appear to be recycled in any fashion. From smartphones and televisions to new cars and buildings, recycled scrap metal winds up in plenty of unexpected places.

Think Before You Toss

With so many clear benefits, it’s no wonder that scrap metal recycling has taken off in a big way. Whether you care about doing your part to minimize your environmental impact or simply want to make a few extra dollars. Since scrap metal recycling isn’t going anywhere, it’s time to embrace it.

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