What Happens to Scrap Metal if You Don’t Recycle?

What Happens to Scrap Metal if You Don’t Recycle?

You probably heard throughout your school years about the importance of recycling. You can probably remember watching cartoons or hearing jingles about the importance of recycling and its effect on the environment.

As adults, recycling becomes not just an environmental issue but an economic one as well. By recycling scrap and unused metals, we can turn our trash into cash while making a difference for the environment.

But what happens to your scrap metal if you don’t recycle it?

We have an idea of trash being taken away and it’s no longer our problem. In your neighborhood, either a trash truck comes by your house or you take your trash to a dumpster. You may have a service that removes unwanted scrap from your job site and hauls it away. However, the metals that aren’t recycled from your home or workplace have a much greater impact on your business, your bottom line, and the environment than you may realize.

Here are seven ways your scrap metal that isn’t recycled is having a negative impact.

  • Lost income

You’ve heard the expression, “You miss all the shots you don’t take.” Well, the same applies to scrap metal recycling, only scrap recycling always makes you money!

When you send your scrap metal to the landfill, that’s money that could be coming back to your bank account that’s now lost in the literal trash heap. Not only that, but you also likely lost money having your scrap hauled away.

Don’t lose opportunities to add to your bottom line for your business. Recycling your scrap metal can be a great way to help offset your building or construction costs.

  • Overcrowded landfills

If you’ve been to a landfill recently, you understand just how much this is a growing problem.

All over the world, as people toss out more and more waste, landfills are continuing to grow. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 258 million tons of municipal solid waste is created in the United States each year. That waste ends up in the approximately 2,000 active landfills across the country, which, according to the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol, will reach capacity by the year 2035.

Translation? Our country is headed for a solid waste and landfill crisis unless we start dramatically changing our recycling habits.

  • Wasted natural resources

The metals we use in everyday life have to come from somewhere.

The iron, aluminum, steel, and other metals we all use are mined as raw materials from the earth. When your scrap metal ends up sitting in a landfill, those materials that could have been recycled and reused many times over are now left wasted, and more raw materials will need to be mined, further depleting these natural resources.

For example, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, recycling one ton of steel conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.

  • Increased pollution

Pollution, like recycling, is a term we’ve all heard since elementary school; however, pollution happens in ways we don’t typically realize.

Many items that end up in landfills, such as electronics, are full of toxins like lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. These toxins are absorbed into the soil and water supply and can be harmful or fatal to humans, plants, and wildlife.

Also, sending your scrap metal to the landfill rather than to be recycled leads to an increased need for mining new materials. This means more mining, increased depletion of natural resources, and an increase of greenhouse gases from manufacturing and mining machinery.

  • Economic impact

Along with lost revenue for yourself or your business, sending scrap metals to the landfill rather than to be recycled has a significant economic impact as well.

The scrap recycling industry is a major economic force in the American economy. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the scrap recycling industry contributed $117 billion in economic activity and $13.2 billion in tax revenue to the United States in 2017. Also, scrap products were exported to 145 countries worldwide, resulting in almost $18 billion in export sales.

Recycling also saves on manufacturing costs. Fresh aluminum can cost up to twice as much as recycled aluminum because mining and processing aluminum from the earth is so much more expensive than recycling existing aluminum.

  • Lost natural habitats

There is a long-lasting cost to continue mining for new materials.

Along with the financial cost of mining and processing new metals and the human cost of labor to remove and process these materials, there is also a lasting negative impact on natural habitats and the environment as a whole. When we mine for new materials or have expanding landfills, that results in an ever-expanding footprint into the natural world.

  • Fossil fuels disappear sooner

Along with an increase in production costs for mining new raw materials comes an increased need for fossil fuels. Equipment, manufacturing, and machinery are all needed to mine these materials from the ground, which depletes our already dwindling fossil fuel reserve.

Scrap Metal Recycling in East Tennessee

When you factor in the financial, environmental, and community costs to send your scrap metals to the landfill, you can’t afford not to give your unwanted metal materials new life through scrap metal recycling. It may seem like an unwanted chore, but this simple practice can make a big difference to your bank account, the profitability of your business, and the health of the environment.

Here at Roane Metals Group, we buy a wide range of metals, and our experienced and highly trained staff wants to give you the best bang for your scrapping buck with our honest scales to maximize your payout. If you have scrap metal and you’re ready to cash in, come by one of our two conveniently located East Tennessee scrap yards in Rockwood and Crossville.

To find out more about recycling your scrap, give us a call at 865-354-4282 today.