The call to recycle as many products as possible is growing louder, and the local municipalities are making it easier than ever for us to do this. However, while paper, plastics and glass are easy to dispose of, it gets a bit tricky when you want to recycle metals. Which metals are recyclable, and where would you take them? Is it even worth it?
While you may feel that your few tin cans or broken tumble-dryer are the equivalent of the widow’s mite in the grand scheme of things, we can assure you that they matter. Yes, a large percentage of the metal used in recycling comes from industry, but consider the following facts:
- Only around 30 percent of metal is recycled (home & commercial)
- Approximately 40 percent of steel, worldwide, is made from recycled steel
- In the US, around 100 million tin cans are used every single day
- Recycled aluminium requires 95 percent less energy than creation from virgin metal
- Steel requires 50-70 percent less energy to process when made from recycled metal
What we’re saying is that each and every one of us has a responsibility to recycle metal wherever we can. This simple act reduces mining and the subsequent impact on the environment, it takes significantly less energy to process, it costs far less to process. You’ll agree, these are all good thing.
What Can I Recycle?
Almost all metals can be recycled. The trick is separating them and preparing them so that you get the most money for your items (some entrepreneurs make a lucrative living out of recycling other people’s junk!) or you’re at least making the next step in the chain easier.
Larger items like fridges, stoves, metal microwaves or washing machines are best handled by the professionals. This includes not-so-large items like televisions or monitors which require special treatment as they can contain toxic chemicals such as lead. In fact, it’s worth asking your local retailer if they will take your old fridge, etc away for recycling – some offer this service.
If the appliance isn’t totally dead but you just want an upgrade, feel free to donate them to shelters or charities where they will be most welcome.
Tin cans and other household trash should be rinsed, the paper removed if possible and taken to your nearest recycling plant. This can include keys, pipes, computers, mobile phones, fencing, metal building rubble, car parts, old sheet roofing… the list goes on.
These small acts will make a global impact if we all do the right thing.