The importance of scrap metal recycling in the UK economy
Recycling has been a hot-button issue for quite some time. It’s hard to overstate its importance – the impact it has on the environment, as well as UK’s economy is substantial. The Earth’s resources are not a cornucopia of unlimited possibilities, so proper conservation can only benefit everyone in the long run. Thankfully, the recycling process allows us to reuse most of the Earth’s resources, so it’s definitely an important solution that should be more widespread.
Recycling scrap metal helps benefit the UK economy mainly because it mitigates the need to extract non-renewable resources through mining. Though we may not be conscious of it on a daily basis, the Earth’s supplies are finite, so it’s best to avoid digging up materials when we still have scrap that we can reuse.The UK produces a great amount of scrap metal on a daily basis. Using all of it only once can greatly increase the necessity for boat and rail transport, which not only raises the likelihood of pollution, but also costs much more than recycling old scrap metal does.
Recycling also helps conserve energy. The amount of energy required for recycling scrap is much smaller than the amount required for excavation of raw materials. Conservation of energy directly translates to conservation of monetary resources, and is thus a key aspect of sustainable development.
The following materials can be recycled:
Glass – a common element found in scrap alongside metal. It can be very easily recycled through melding and remoulding, gaining a new life through bottles and other products. Though glass can be made fairly easily, the cost of creating new glass is still much greater than recycling new glass. It’s important to note, however, that glass needs to be sorted by colour and recycled separately from one another.
Metal – the most common component of scrap, metal requires little energy to be melted and remoulded, and in the case of some metals like aluminium, this process can be repeated multiple times with no loss of metal quality. Metal recycling is particularly important as not only does excavating raw metal involve a lot of invasive digging that is very costly, but raw metal is also a finite resource.
Paper – a bit harder to recycle since it can’t be melted, paper is still much cheaper to reuse than it is to create new paper from trees.
Plastic – the importance of recycling plastic mostly has to do with the fact that plastic cannot be safely disposed of in any other way without contaminating the environment.