Building The World In Scrap: Shanghai 1989 vs. 2010

A lot of people ask us about where all of the scrap metal in the US and Canada goes to after you drop it off to your scrap yard…and that answer can vary depending on the material and the location.

Where Does Your Scrap Metal Go?

But overwhelmingly since the mid 1990’s a lot of metal has gone over to China and other developing countries to begin to build their infrastructure and to build up their cities. To show you an idea of how different these cities look, let’s take a look at this image:

Shanghai China

Image from Gizmodo

The top image is Shanghai, China in 1990 and the bottom image is Shanghai in 2010. Wow. Wow. Wow. That is a crazy difference and it is a large reason why you can begin to understand where a lot of the scrap metals have been going to and been utilized for since the early 1990’s. Just imagine the weight in steel, copper, stainless, aluminum, and other metals needed to put up one skyscraper…let alone an entire downtown city.

Scrap Metal Building An Entire New City Skyline

What’s crazy is all of the metal that you can’t see in this picture that made this all so possible. The I-Beams that are dug into the ground to support the buildings. The copper wire that is run underground to run power to those buildings, all of the aluminum that is holding up the windows throughout all of them. Wowowowow. It really is crazy to think about.

Some of Your Scrap May Have Built Shanghai

What’s crazier is to think did you have a part of this? The easy answer is yes, one way or another part of the scrap that you probably sold to your local yard probably made its way to part of one of these buildings or infrastructure in the city. Shanghai is not the only city that this has happened to since 1990, many cities have been built up as well. Cities like Paris, France and London, England have also had large expansions and this has all been part of where many of the recycled and reused metals have gone over the last 20 years.

Many think that this big boom will be curbed for a little while, (as of early 2016) because of some stand stills in world growth, but thats just too soon to tell.

When you look at one of these skyscrapers in the picture above many people ask one big question…what is it worth in scrap? Well, that is hard to tell because you just don’t know what materials were put into the building, how much concrete, etc…but to give you a rough idea, they said that the average skyscraper across the world weighs in a 222,500 tons. That number includes furniture and other add-ons after the building is put together….but for the team at the iScrap App, we just say that thats a lot of metal.

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