Home » Society and Culture » Environment

What's Old is New Again: The Magic of Metal Recycling

Aug 10, 2008
Americans use 100 million steel cans and 200 million aluminum beverages cans every day, according to the National Energy Education Development Project. Without metal recycling, the country might be afloat in metal. The choices seem simple: The metal can be burned in waste-to-energy plants, dumped in a landfill, or recycled. Of the three choices, recycling is recognized as the most efficient way to reduce aluminum and steel waste.

Aluminum and Steel Recycling

Unlike copper, iron and other common metals, aluminum only exists in combination with other elements. When aluminum is combined at a reduction plant or smelter, it forms an extremely hard material known as alumina. It is then dissolved in a liquid salt (or molten) in large pots. A powerful current is run through the liquid which separates the aluminum from the oxygen as the molten aluminum sinks to the bottom of a pot. The whole reduction process involves a large amount of electrical energy.

Making aluminum from recycled aluminum scrap, on the other hand, takes much less energy. In fact, recycling four aluminum cans saves as much energy as the energy in one cup of gasoline, according to the National Energy Education Development Project. This decrease in energy gives aluminum items their high scrap value. Aluminum manufacturers save both energy and money by using recycled aluminum.

Recycling Aluminum

The cycle for recycled aluminum begins as cans are taken by consumers to a scrap company or grocery store. From there, it moves on to a recycling plant. Here, the aluminum is shredded and melted where it becomes an ingot, or molten aluminum. These ingots are fashioned into aluminum sheets or other forms. From there, the aluminum is made into new cans and the cycle begins again.

Recycling Steel

Steel is the most recycled material in the United States. It dominates the recycling industry because it exists in endless amounts of steel scrap from cars, appliances, and torn-down buildings and bridges. Because recycled steel takes 60 percent less energy to make than iron ore, nearly all of today's steel products are made with some recycled steel.

Steel can recycling follows almost the same process as aluminum can recycling. Once steel scrap is collected from homes, recycling centers, or waste-to-energy plants it is shipped to a scrap processor or dealer.

The steel scrap is melted in a furnace and then poured into casters that continuously roll and flatten the steel into sheets. Recycled steel is made into an endless array of products, such as new cars, girders for buildings, or food cans. In the U.S., steel cans and other steel products contain at least 25 percent recycled steel, with some containing nearly 100 percent recycled steel.

To determine if a can is made of steel or aluminum, take a separate magnet to each item. Steel will immediately attract to the magnet while aluminum will not. Steel recyclers may accept cans containing both steel and aluminum. Aluminum recyclers, however, may limit their acceptance to only 100 percent aluminum cans.

The recycling of aluminum and steel is a process that can occur again and again. Both do not lose their strength or quality during the method of recycling. This never-ending process continues to save energy and resources.
About the Author
Soave Enterprises diversified management and investment company founded by Detroit businessman Anthony Soave that provides strategic planning, financial and other management resources to its affiliated business ventures in the real estate, automotive retailing, beer distribution, scrap metal, industrial services and transportation industries, among others. For more information on Tony Soave and Soave Enterprises, please visit the website.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 112
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources