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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Recycling Scrap Metal

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Recycling Scrap Metal

Janifer Thompson 1908 13-Sep-2019

When recycling scrap metal, the only advantage that many people seem to focus on is that it can be a lucrative business or side hustle for people who would like to put a little extra cash in their pockets. There are, however, more advantages due to recycling scrap then just the financial bonus we receive – doing so is also beneficial to the environment, puts more metal products into circulation, and helps us to save money.

There is a huge amount of scrap metal recycled each year – around 150 million metric tonnes it is estimated – so this idea is not something that is new by any means. Of this recycled scrap metalper year, around 82 million tonnes is comprised of steel and iron, 5 million tonnes is aluminium, around 2 million tonnes is copper and another 2 million is stainless steel, just over 1 million tonnes is lead, and 420,000 tonnes is zinc. We could, however, be doing more to recycle scrap metal, as much still ends up in landfill. 


So, to encourage more people to recycle their scrap, what are the advantages of recycling scrap metal?

• Create more products:Scrap is used to construct a wide range of products, including cars, boats, appliances, planes, train tracks and so on; recycling means we are able to produce a whole lot more of these products. 

• Decrease Virgin Mining:Recycling scrap decreases our need to mine the earth’s natural resources, which helps to protect the integrity of the planet and prevent other issues from arising. 

• Environmentally Sustainable:As the amount of scrap recycling plants has increased, the presence of several pollutions has decreased, especially so in countries where the plants are located. 

• Save Resources:The natural resources used to mine metal, such as water, aren’t required in quantities anywhere near as large when it comes to processing scrap metals, which saves these resources on a huge scale. 

• Affordable Re-Sale Costs:It costs less to process scrap metal than it does to process ‘virgin’ metals that have just been mined, which allows these products to be sold for even cheaper prices in the retail sphere. 

• Added Employment Opportunities:The scrap recycling plants across the world offer a range of employment opportunities for people who may otherwise be unemployed or stuck in careers that they do not enjoy. 


Surely, given there are so many benefits to recycling scrap metal, there must be at least as many negatives? Wrong! There are hardly any disadvantages associated with recycling, which is what makes it such a great choice. However, these issues may be seen as a down-side by some people:

• Time: It does take time to collect, separate and take your scrap to a recycle centre, which can be off-putting for some people. However, it’s important to remember that you are getting paid for your time! 

• Finding a Reputable Centre: This can be a hassle for first-time recyclers, though partnering with a reputable centre is well-worth the time spent researching the options in your region. This way you can be confident you’re receiving a fair price, and that the transaction is above-board and legal.  

• Understanding Prices: The prices that companies buy back scrap can vary on a daily basis, so working out what you can expect to receive can be frustrating. Rather than call every business in your region, consider partnering with a team who offers an online mobile app – one that is updated each day will offer best results.  

Scrap is able to be recycled again and again without affecting the properties or the quality of the metal itself, meaning that there is no reason why you shouldn’t be recycling it. We all need to do our bit for the environment, so partner with a scrap metal business today.  

Updated 13-Sep-2019

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