Aluminum and metal recycling
Metal recycling involves the collection of metal from discarded products and its transformation into raw materials to use in manufacturing a new product. Both recyclers and manufacturers alike promote the process of recycling metal, as the energy used to produce the recycled secondary material is far less than the energy required to produce metal initially from raw ores.
To illustrate the energy saved by recycling metal, let's take a look at aluminum cans. Producing an aluminum can from recycled aluminum requires just 5 percent of the energy originally required to create an aluminum can from primary raw materials. This energy savings is significant; recycling a single aluminum can saves the energy equivalent of a 100-watt light bulb burning for four hours. Aluminum cans are among the most highly sought-after containers in the recycling industry, and with 54 billion cans recycled annually, they are the most commonly recycled consumer product. Almost all curbside recycling programs will accept aluminum cans as well as aluminum foil.
Similarly to the energy saved with aluminum recycling, the amount of energy saved in using recycled steel is 74 percent compared to manufacturing a steel product using virgin ores. It is quite remarkable that the steel industry has been recycling steel into new products for more than 150 years. Steel is the most commonly recycled material in the United States, and it can be recycled and turned into new steel products an infinite number of times. Steel containers, lids and household items are accepted by almost all curbside recycling programs.
Scrap Metal Recycling
Scrap metal, which includes both ferrous metals such as iron and steel, and nonferrous metals like aluminum, copper, tin and brass, can be reclaimed from many household appliances and used in the manufacturing of new products. Washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, ovens and water heaters are all valuable sources of this scrap metal. A few curbside recycling programs will accept these appliances, but in most areas you will need to take them to a local metal recycling center. To save yourself the trouble, when you purchase a new appliance, ask the delivery representatives to take the old one with them for recycling.
Metal Recycling Centers
If curbside recycling programs don't accept the metal you wish to recycle, be sure to investigate your local metal recycling centers. Most will pay you for some of the metal you bring them, and some even have drive-through service.
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