The process is becoming more and more widespread. It is estimated that about 45% of the world's steel production comes from recycled metal, while around a third of the world's aluminium and 40% of copper are obtained the same way. And this trend is only gaining momentum - it is estimated that in 2008 alone, a whopping total of 150 million tons of scrap metal was recycled.
There are numerous benefits of recycling scrap metal, be they economic or environmental. There really is no major downside to this process.
Manufacturing new metals from virgin ore requires much more energy than simply recycling scrap metal. It is estimated that we can conserve 60% of energy by recycling iron and steel, and as much as 95% for aluminium.
Thanks to its properties, there is really no limit to how often we can recycle and reuse metal. Therefore, by making that process commonplace, we can preserve the finite resources we have on earth. According to estimates, recycling one ton of aluminium can conserve as many as five tons of bauxite.
Greenhouse gas emissions are one of the prime causes for global climate change. We can help reduce that amount substantially by recycling metals. According to recent reports, greenhouse gass emissions may be reduced from 300 million to 500 million tons by metal recycling alone. It also helps reduce the amount of mining waste as well as the amount of usef up water for these processes.
Though not spoken of frequently, recycling metal actually helps the country's economy. The metal recycling industry employs a surprising amount of people, providing around 10 times the revenue and employment compared to the waste industry.