How Can Scrap Metal Recycling Reduce the Need for Metal Mining?

24 January 2023

Metals are resources that have been very useful in many industries.

The automotive industry, for example, uses metals to create different parts of vehicles. The electronics industry, alternatively, takes advantage of metals to generate a wide array of appliances, devices, and others.

One thing about metals, however, is they are often sourced from mining. And as metal mining continues, the number of issues it generates continues to increase as well. These issues then lead to problems that the planet and humanity face and will face for a very long time. Without mitigating them, the effects of mining might not be reversed anymore in the future.

Metal Mining Primary Concerns

Mining activities are still ongoing today in various parts of the world. After all, some materials can only be obtained through these activities. They can, however, pose some concerns that can be harmful to the environment and the communities around mining sites.

• Physical Disturbances: One of the primary concerns in metal mining is the physical disturbances it creates. Open pits and waste rock disposal areas are two of the most active locations in a mining site. As more ground elements are displaced from the open pits to the waste disposal areas, they can generate waste that can lead to land, water, and even air pollution. The only time these disturbances can be stabilised is if they have been reclaimed for other uses like wildlife habitats or recreation areas.

• Metal Mobilisation: Metals in a chemical form, which can often come from mining sites, can also be a huge source of concern since they can be released from the sediments into stream waters. Once these metals have been consumed by plants and animals, they may cause detrimental effects on their bodies as well as on the foods people eat. Acidic water, which may also be comprised of acidic elements from mining waste rocks, may likewise reach groundwater, preventing people from using it for irrigation and consumption.

• Air Contamination: Metal mining can likewise be a cause of concern to the environment as it can cause air contamination. Some mining sites may emit gas and particulate elements from historical smelting operations. As these elements precipitate and go back into the soil, they can easily harm existing vegetation. They can even deter crops from growing.

The Essence of Recycling Metal

One great way to reduce the need for metal mining is to recycle scrap metals. As mentioned before, metals are now utilised by most industries. By recycling scrap products from landfills and from these industries, recycling centres can easily obtain tons of scrap metals, which they can process and send to manufacturers so they can use them again. As more industries lean towards scrap metals, they do not have to rely solely on new metals anymore.

Aside from veering away from new metals all the time, scrap metal recycling can also be beneficial for industries as it is energy efficient. Metal mining can consume tons of energy given the number of tools needed to extract new metals. Mining companies even have to process the collected metals, which also use a lot of energy. Metal recycling, alternatively, only uses energy to extract metals from discarded products, process them, and send them to various industries.

Recycling metal can likewise reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike metal mining, recycling metal does not produce elements that can harm the surroundings. This process even ensures that no communities will be harmed throughout the operations of recycling plants.

If you need some help with metal recycling, you can contact us at Victorian Metal Traders.

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