lead recycling

Can lead be recycled?

On: May 21, 2020
By: TransMetal
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Category: Blog
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Even though lead is not as commonly used anymore as it once was, it can still be found in some of the products you have in your house. For example, it’s an important component of modern batteries, so if you have any battery-powered appliances around the house – and you definitely have at least a few of them – you should be aware of the risks associated with it and how to safely scrap lead.

What is lead?

Lead is one of the heavy metals that occur naturally in the Earth’s crust. It’s been mined and used for centuries because its unique characteristics make lead very useful in various fields. For one, its softness and malleability make it really easy to reshape lead into desired products. Then there’s also the fact that such products aren’t susceptible to the damages made by water, making this metal perfect, for example, for the manufacturing of pipes. That was the common opinion for a long time. Now, however, we know that it’s usefulness is far more limited – lead is highly toxic and can cause severe health problems for people exposed to it. That’s why it’s no longer used in construction, pipelines, nor food containers. Nowadays, most of the lead that’s mined is used in the production process of lead batteries. Such batteries can be later found in our laptops and cars, among others.

Why is lead dangerous?

Due to its toxicity, prolonged exposure to lead can have very serious consequences for the condition of our health. The biggest problem with lead poisoning is the fact that it can be caused even by a relatively small amount of the material, and it’s especially dangerous for children whose mental and physical development can be harmed. In most serious cases, it can be fatal. That’s why lead recycling is so important. If we let items that are made of or contain lead end up in the landfills, we risk the toxins ending up in the soil and water – and in effect even in our food.

Is lead recyclable?

The good news is that lead is one of the most recycled metals right now. The reason for it is simple – since it’s mainly used for batteries that are very easy to track, lead is much more likely to end up in a recycling bin than many other items. But that’s not all, lead can be recycled without any damage to the quality of the material – this means that by making the recycling process more efficient, we can cover a big part of the market demand for lead. As a result, we not only make sure that such hazardous toxins don’t end up polluting the environment, we also limit the need for mining, thus increasing the positive impact of lead recycling even further.

How to recycle lead?

If you have appliances or items made of lead around the house and you’re not sure what to do with them – don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it may seem. Scrap yards can buy lead along with other metals from you, and if it’s impossible for you to get there, you can even arrange a scrap metal collection from your own address. Though you should always make sure that your chosen scrap yard or recycling centre accepts lead – you can call ahead and ask about the options available to you. You’ll easily find such information on the Internet as well.

Making sure that lead products you have are recycled properly doesn’t demand much work from you. In reality, you can even earn some money by scrapping it. On the other hand, the risks created by irresponsible disposal of toxic materials is incredibly high – that’s why it’s always a better idea to find more environmentally-friendly options and do what’s right for your health and the planet.

Common questions:

Can lead be reused?

Yes, lead is one of the materials that doesn’t lose its characteristics in the recycling process and can be effectively reused over and over again without losing its value. Reusing lead is actually cheaper than mining it.

Where can I recycle lead?

In most cases, you’ll be able to recycle lead by delivering it to your local recycling centre or scrap yard. Though, you should always make sure that they are well-equipped to deal with such materials. You can also check the local regulations for dealing with hazardous waste – you should be able to find a lot of useful information there.

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