Scrap- recycling facilities are like mines above ground rich with resources that can be reused to preserve the environment at a fraction of the cost to mined and refined metals from virgin ore. Scrap metal is not waste or trash. Rather, it is a continuous resource made from old automobiles, appliances, buildings, bridges, airplanes and more. Scrap metal may, in fact, be one of our most precious resources. Because it can be re-melted and reshaped into new products countless times, scrap metal is a resource that will never be depleted.


Sunlight will one day fade, metal will always be here ready to be shaped again.

Benefits of Recycling

Recycling has become increasingly important to society and industry to meet the goals of cost reduction, efficient management of limited resources, and reduced landfill utilization. We are accustomed to hearing about recycling in general; however, many people do not know important it is to recycle all metal as well. Recycling metal is vital to our economy,  reduces pollution, saves resources, reduces waste going to landfills and prevents the destruction of habitats from associated with mining new ore.


Environmental Benefits

Metal recycling conserves natural resources by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using less energy than making metal from virgin ore. The production of new metal releases a far greater amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared with making products from recycled metal. These emissions may influence climate change and may also cause harmful levels of air pollution in cities, resulting in potential respiratory health problems for you and other residents. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) reports that recycling metal may cut greenhouse gas emissions by 300 million to 500 million tons.

In addition, using scrap metal in lieu of virgin ore generates 97% less mining waste and uses 40% less water, according to the National Institute of Health.  US production is at about 150 million metric tons every year, with about 85 million of those tons being recycled iron and steel. Other metals that produce large amounts of scrap include aluminum, copper, stainless steel, lead, and zinc. Scrap metal is essentially lost product and lost profits, that will just sit around and wreak havoc on the environment if not put back into the metal cycle. Recycling scrap metal has become a major trend. For businesses, it allows them cash in on an asset that used to be considered waste , and for the environment, it removes a massive amount of materials that can prove hazardous.

Scrap metal can be hidden stream of revenue. Companies paid for the metal they needed, but only used a portion of it, hence the need and financial benefit achieved by selling their scrap metal to those who want to recycle it and use it for new products.


Energy Conservation

Carbon Footprint and Energy reduction when using recycled units of metals, 92 % for aluminum, 90 % for copper and 56 % for steel.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if you recycle a single aluminum beverage can, you help conserve enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for more than four hours.


Economic Benefits

Recycling metal creates 36 times more jobs than sending the same amount of metal waste to the incinerator, and six times more than sending the metal to a landfill, according to the National Institute of Health. The National Recycling Coalition says the recycling industry in general generates $236 billion annually and employs more than a million workers across America. Scrap Metal Recycling Is a Big Business

While recycling scrap metal benefits the companies selling and purchasing the scraps, it also creates an entire industry around recycling the metal. As of 2011, more than 450,000 jobs were sustained by the scrap metal recycling industry, and these numbers have continued to rise over the passing years.

Scrap Metals generate more than 90 billion annually, without scrap GDP would be significantly smaller. State economy’s can recycle scrap metal at up to 14 billion of their annual revenue, its more than a small part of their economy.

It Supports the state of the US economy, exports from the US are declining from an already low level. However, scrap metal and items made from recycled scrap metal are actually a major export for the US. The US exports about 14.5 billion dollars of scrap metals and products made from them.

The amount of scrap metal in circulation saves the environment,  every year the United States is able to recycle more than 120 million metric tons of scrap metal, which is the majority of the 150 million tons it produces. That ratio means a proportional difference between recycled and virgin metals in new products that has a huge impact on the environment.


Additional References:


Economic Impact Study by John Dunham for ISRI

Stanford University, Benefits of Recycling


International Experts for Research Enrichment




EURACTIV, Steel in the Circular Economy


HealthFully, Benefits of Recycling Metal


MDPI, The Sustainable Management of Metals:

Ecoparts, Environmental and Economic Benefits of Scrap Metal Recycling


American Geosciences Institute,

How can metal mining impact the environment?