Is Metal Sustainable?

Being in the new metal materials industry, I often wonder about environmental sustainability. Where does it come from? Where does all the scrap go? Is it recycled into anything useful?
recycled-aluminum-sculptureI recently reconnected with a guy I grew up with, and it turns out he works for CASS, Inc., a metal recycling company that works to take scrap aluminum, steel, copper, nickel, and zinc and processes them into ingots and usable metal materials for customers. They are ISO 14001 certified, and committed to re-producing environmentally sustainable materials.
Their processes use less energy and create less pollution than the production of new materials. CASS is based out of Oakland, California.
They have several quotes on their website that are worth sharing:

metal-recycling“Recycling one ton of steel conserves 2500 lbs of iron ore, 1400 lbs of coal, and 120 lbs of limestone.”

“Once manufactured, aluminum can be recycled repeatedly, using only 5% of the energy, and generating only 5% of the emissions, associated with primary production.”

Recycling Facts

  • The US annually recycles enough copper to provide the copper content for 26,000 Statues of Liberty.
  • Recycling aluminum creates 97% less water pollution than manufacturing aluminum from virgin ore.
  • On average, the US processes enough ferrousscrap daily, by weight, to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year.
  • Recycling steel requires 60% less energy than producing it from virgin ore.
  • Energy saved using aluminum scrap vs virgin material is up to 92%.
  • Using recycled copper saves up to 90% of the energy needed to make new copper from virgin ores.

That’s food for thought!  More information about metals recycling can be found here, at the CASS website.
Also, learn more about OnlineMetals Sustainability programs and recent Envirostar award!
-Guest Post by OnlineMetals staffer, Whitney Clem