New metal mining is an extractive process that leads to loss of habitat, emissions, and the use of resources like water and energy. In many cases, metal mining is also associated with labor violations or worker exposure to hazardous materials and substances. Rather than mining new metal, metal can be kept in production and used time and time again with scrap metal recycling. Here’s what you should know about why recycling metal is much better for the planet than new metal extraction—
New metal mining starts with digging. Miners will dig until they find rock containing metal ore. Sometimes, this means displacing millions of tons of dirt to reach the ore. After metal ore is located, it is crushed. The metal is then extracted from the crushed ore using one of two methods: smelting or electrolysis.
Smelting uses heat to separate the metal from the rest of the ore, sometimes requiring a chemical reduction agent (which can be damaging for the planet), to aid in separation. Electrolysis, on the other hand, uses acid and electricity to separate the ore.
Once metal is mined, it must be transported, often thousands of miles, to be processed or/and distributed.
While new metal mining using large amounts of energy and water, may rely on chemicals, leads to habitat loss, and requires metals to be shipped all over the world, leading to large amounts of transportation emissions, metal recycling is a much more sustainable option. Metal recycling is more sustainable because:
In addition to all of the above, it’s important to know that recycled metal does not lose its strength when recycled; it is just as strong and durable as new metal. Recycled metal is often usually less expensive than new metal, and sellers of scrap metal can get paid to recycle.
To learn more about the many benefits of choosing recycled metal over newly mined metal, or to learn more about how to recycle scrap metal with Belson Steel, call us directly today. You can reach our team online or by phone to get started.
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