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The Role of Metal Recycling in Achieving a Low-Carbon Future

24 August 2022

For numerous decades, governments and industries have been paving the way toward cutting carbon emissions around the world by a huge percentage. This move has been well-received by many people as doing this can prevent various harmful environmental effects.

And if this movement continues, the world will simply move toward a low-carbon future. A low-carbon future involves technologies that emit low levels of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which are known to be harmful to the ozone as well as to the ecosystem. A low-carbon future likewise minimises the use of energy and other activities that often lead to the release of high-level toxic elements into the surroundings.

Primary Pathways to a Low-Carbon Future

To date, there are multiple pathways to how a low-carbon future can be achieved.

One pathway that can lead to a low-carbon future is smart energy use. Regulating the amount of energy that buildings and industries will use can easily lead to the reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere. This pathway may involve the use of energy-efficient equipment and tools. Following energy-saving tips can also lead to a low-carbon future.

Another pathway to a low-carbon future is decarbonising fuel sources. This pathway can be achieved by removing coal from the power grid entirely, limiting the use of fossil gas, and cutting the use of carbon on transportation fuels. Subsequently, switching fossil fuels to zero-emission renewable fuels can easily make a low-carbon future possible.

Reducing waste products, preserving natural carbon sinks, and setting methane emission standards can also achieve a low-carbon future.

A Low-Carbon Future with Metal Recycling

The goal of a low-carbon future is to cut the emission of CO2 and other harmful elements in the surroundings by a huge percentage. And since metal recycling processes waste and turn them into great products again, it can easily contribute to a future that maximises low-carbon technologies and products.

One of the products that a low-carbon future may fully utilise is electric vehicles. And since these things require components made from durable and energy-efficient materials, they can effectively utilise metals produced by the metal recycling industry. Opting for raw metal extraction, after all, will only require too much energy and resources.

Significant Metals for a Low-Carbon Future

Some metals that may be acquired from the recycling centres are lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and copper. Lithium is crucial in generating lithium-ion batteries, which are often integrated into electric vehicles and smartphones. Processing lithium can be somehow challenging. Hence, not all recycling centres may be able to provide this material to manufacturers.

Cobalt, alternatively, can be easily recycled as its properties do not degrade despite being reprocessed multiple times. This material is used in producing batteries, aircraft engines, gas turbines, cemented carbides, and many more.

Nickel has been useful for generating coins. However, it can also be used to create wires, gas turbines, rocket engines, nails, pipes, and others. Recycling this metal can be done since it does not lose its vital properties once reprocessed.

Recycling manganese and copper, ultimately, can be pivotal to many industries as they also help generate car components, equipment pieces, and devices. They can even be used in other industries that also contribute toward a low-carbon future.

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