Metals such as steel, iron, aluminium and copper can be recycled an infinite number of times, because their metallic properties do not deteriorate with repeated melting and casting. Plastic and glass, however, can be much more difficult and expensive to recycle. That’s why closed loop recycling agreements for metals are really beneficial for larger manufacturers.
If we really care about the future of our world, we need to look at ways of producing the things we want in a way that minimises the damage to the environment. And few processes are as beneficial as recycling metals.
Virtually all metals can be recycled into high quality new metal. Not only does this cut down on the natural resources we use, such as iron ore, nickel or alumina and bauxite, the energy it consumes and CO2 emissions it produces are minimal compared with processing primary raw materials as it requires lower smelting temperatures.
That’s great for the environment, but it’s also good for the UK economy. In 2021, 10m tonnes of metal was recycled, with 90% of it exported – making us one of the world’s five largest scrap metal exporters.
Across the EU, using recycled raw materials
cuts CO2 emissions by 200m tonnes
Using recycled steel to make new steel
reduces air pollution 86% and water pollution by 76%
Every tonne of recycled steel
saves 1.5 tonnes of iron ore and 0.5 tonnes of coal