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How Often Can Metal be Recycled?

Reduce, reuse, recycle is a phrase most ought to be familiar with, but just how many times can goods be recycled before they end up in the landfill? The answers may surprise you.

Recycling is not only a good habit to get into, but it can also pay quite handsomely as well. State and territory recycling programmes in Australia understand the need to increase recycling and to reduce waste, so many incentives have been put in place to encourage Australians to recycle more and to waste less. Here are a few examples of metal and non-metal goods that can be recycled and how often they can be reused.

Non-Metal Goods

Glass, paper, and plastic contribute to an enormously large amount of household waste every year in Australia. Approximately 25 per cent of all household waste (including the aforementioned materials and metal, combined) is recycled, leaving the vast majority in our landfills. Less waste and more recycling is generally seen as a good thing, so where does the other 75 per cent go? Unfortunately, 27 million tonnes (around 40%) of all waste goes straight to disposal, which is substantially high for a country with a (relatively) small population. 

An unfortunate truth about most non-metal recyclable goods is that they aren’t infinitely recyclable. Depending on the quality and type of material, recycling is either altogether limited to once or twice or a half dozen times. Glass can be recycled infinitely, but plastic and paper are often only able to be recycled a handful of times at the most.

Aluminium & Copper

Non-ferrous metals can be infinitely recycled and never lose their quality since the process of recycling these metals removes any impurities and paint that may have been on them before. Approximately 93 thousand tonnes of aluminium and steel cans were recycled in Australia in 2015. That’s a significant amount of recycling, and the benefits of recycling work themselves back through the economy. It helps the environment, too, since recycled aluminium is far less resource-intensive than mining and extraction for new ore.

Aluminium and copper are commonly used non-ferrous metals that are found in everything from cans to electrical wiring. No matter the size of the aluminium or copper, it can all be smelted and is therefore worth something on the market.

Ferrous Metals (Steel & Iron)

Much like non-ferrous metals, ferrous metals such as steel and iron can also be recycled an infinite number of times without losing its material properties such as strength and durability. Any impurities in the old steel or iron is removed during the smelting process, so it will always come out as pure steel or iron. 

No matter how big or how small, all metals can (and should) be recycled. Recycled steel and iron can be used to make anything, including cars, pipes, structural steel, reinforced steel for concrete, appliances, railroad tracks, and steel cans. 

Melbo Scrap Metal

Don’t contribute to growing landfills, recycle your metals instead. It should be clear as to why: households have the incentive of receiving cash for their metals whilst recycling plants contribute to the environment by reducing the need for fresh ore extraction and by reusing perfectly good metals. If you’ve got residential, commercial, or industrial waste that you need to be rid of, take your metals down to Melbo Scrap Metal and we’ll be happy to give it a new lease on life.

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