Recycling is an important practice that can help conserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gases and provide economic benefits.
Many metals can be recycled into new high-quality metals but there is often confusion about what metals can be recycled or not – this leads to reusable materials going to landfills unnecessarily.
Metals suitable for recycling are generally sorted into ferrous and non-ferrous metals, the main difference being that ferrous metals contain iron and non-ferrous metals do not.
Here are 5 of the most common metals that can be recycled:
- Steel – is the most recycled metal accounting for about 65% of metal recycled throughout the world it is used in many applications including buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, cars, machines and appliances used across the world.
- Aluminum – used in a variety of sources including end-of-life vehicles, aircraft, boats, bicycles, computers, cookware, gutters, siding and electrical wiring.
- Copper – sourced from the base of televisions and computer monitors; inside laptops and DVD players; within large and small electrical appliances; and in handheld electronics.
- Brass – Malleable, conductive and resistant to corrosion and fatigue, brass is a popular metal for recycling. Common items which contain brass that could be recycled include plumbing fixtures and vehicle radiators.
- Zinc – the most often overlooked scrap metals, zinc can be recycled indefinitely without the loss of chemical or physical properties.
Metal recycling is cheaper and more energy-efficient than creating new primary metals. As metals do not degrade when they are recycled like other materials might, they can continue to be recycled again and again and still retain a high value.