This Earth Day: Importance of Metal Recycling

With Earth Day celebrated on April 22nd, it is a perfect time of year to discuss the importance of metal recycling to the environment. With many people heading out of their winter confinements and cleaning out garages and planting gardens, metal recycling should also be a big part of your Earth Day clean up.

A Little History of Earth Day

Earth Day is held on April 22 in the US and was started by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin in 1970. After a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA in 1969, Nelson was inspired and rallied the student anti-war movement to educate the public about air and water pollution. It would turn into a national political agenda and he gathered over 85 staff members to promote events throughout the country.

After starting the movement on April 22, over 20 million Americans and thousands of colleges and universities took to the streets and protested against the deterioration of the environment. It was unique because the movement brought Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city folk and farmers, other oppositions together for one cause. A cleaner earth. Earth Day led to the creation of the US EPA, the passage of Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. (Source:

How Metal Recycling Affects the Earth

Scrap metal recycling has a large impact on the environment. With scrapping, many metals skip the landfill and are sent to be processed directly into new materials which makes the recycling process much faster. For example, an Aluminum Can can be recycled and the materials can be put back on the shelf in 60 days from the moment it is recycled.

Many common materials like steel, copper, and iron are mined for their raw materials throughout the world to produce more products like I-beams, plumbing pipes, and more. If more people take the time to recycle their metals there would be less need to use raw materials. Also by recycling materials that are already in use can decrease the amount of pollution otherwise needed to produce them from raw ore.

By The Numbers

Greenhouse emissions are greatly reduced when recycling scrap metal compared to raw ore. The amount of energy includes the machines, their fuel, manpower, and more that have to be used to produce a final product. Below are some common metals and the energy that is saved when recycling them:
  • 92% for Aluminum
  • 90% for Copper
  • 56% for Steel
These are some of the most common metals that everyday scrappers come across when scrapping. So it just shows how important scrappers and scrap metal recycling is to the earth and the environment. By recycling one ton of steel alone conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone. Recycling a ton of aluminum conserves up to 8 tons of bauxite ore and 14-megawatt hours of electricity. (Source:
At the end of the day, metal recycling is just as important to Earth Day and the environment as picking up trash on a highway or planting a tree on Arbor Day. Keep doing your job as a scrapper and continue to find the right place to sell your scrap metal and recycle it the right way.