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Why are Some Metal Materials Non-recyclable?

18 November 2021

A lot of manufacturers have quickly embraced the use of recycled metals in processing their parts and products. Other businesses and even households, alternatively, are collecting scrap metals so they can sell them to recycling centres.

What entices them from supporting the metal recycling processes, in general, is that they can effectively prevent the environment from further deterioration. You see, scrap metals usually end up in landfills. Without taking any necessary steps, these metals would just pile up in the said places. As more scrap metals are present in the landfills, various types of pollutions are expected to get worse. Additionally, industries would certainly maximise raw metals, which are known to consume a lot of energy.

Metal recycling has indeed helped industries and countries to become sustainable. Keep in mind, however, that not all metal materials can be recycled. Recycling centres would still have to ensure that they process the right kinds of metals.

Qualities of Non-recyclable Metals

Metals that are not qualified to be recycled often have similar qualities that recycling centres typically check. One of the qualities of non-recyclable metals would be the presence of unstable atoms. Metals with unstable atoms are known to be radioactive. And since they are unstable, they might only yield erratic reactions whenever they will undergo various metal recycling processes. Additionally, radioactive metals can be harmful to people, especially when touched or inhaled directly. The processing or eradication of radioactive metals would have to be conducted by specific professionals.

Another quality of non-recyclable metals is toxic. As mentioned before, radioactive metals have unstable atoms that can be harmful to people. These metals would normally cause health problems to people once they have inhaled, consumed, or touched them. Some radioactive metals can cause cancers, nervous system damages, and disorders to body systems. Others, alternatively, can cause deaths.

Examples of Non-recyclable Metals

Four metal materials that cannot be recycled are as follows:

  1. Lead –Lead is a soft, malleable metal material that is often maximised in constructing buildings and generating batteries and ammunition. Once this metal material is inhaled or ingested, it could easily cause blood disorders, brain disorders, and nervous system damages.
  2. Mercury –Mercury is a metal liquid material that has good electric conductivity. Once this material has been ingested or inhaled, it can easily lead to mercury poisoning.
  3. Plutonium –Plutonium is a hard metal material that boasts a high boiling point and good electric conductivity. This material can be combined with another metal so it can become more malleable. What makes plutonium non-recyclable is that it can generate health effects once inhaled. Some effects of inhaling plutonium are radiation poisoning, lung cancer, and genetic impairment.
  4. Uranium –Uranium, ultimately, is a metal material that can be found naturally in rocks and oceans. Uranium is often maximised in producing aeroplane counterweight, yacht keels, and radiation shielding. Exposure to uranium can lead to bone, liver, or lung cancer.

To know more about metal recycling, you can contact us at Victorian Metal Traders.

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