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The Many Uses for Scrap Metal

September 3, 2013

Today's Guest Blog is by Sarah Dawes, who writes for Wastecycle Ltd.

Recycling scrap metal makes good economic and environmental sense. The phrase, “circular economy,” advises that all things manufactured should be made in such a way that they can be later dismantled and recreated into a final end product once the original product has lost its usability to the consumer. Scrap metal is one of those foundation materials that can be refashioned into many new uses.

copper pipe

Industrial Uses

Scrap iron and aluminum metals are being used extensively in the construction industry in projects such as roads and bridges. In the transportation industry, it can be used in the manufacture of automobiles, aircraft and other modes of transportation. Another more recent use is in detoxifying industrial wastewater. Scrap metal is also used widely in the production of containers, which are used extensively by many companies. Many appliances are also made out of scrap metal, especially aluminum. This use of scrap metal by so many industries has helped the environment by minimizing the need for mining natural resources that are becoming scarce. Scrap metal is also much cheaper to use in the manufacture of these items.

aluminium cans

New and Stronger Metal Products 

Recycled steel metal scraps can be made into higher quality tools through a process using an electric arc furnace. Stainless steel can also be made in this way. Copper scrap is made into products using some of the same processes as steel, which also include blast and reverberator furnace processes. Aluminum scrap metal can also be melted at a much lower temperature than virgin aluminum, so the process consumes much less energy. This is generally true of all recycled metals, which not only saves on energy but Co2 emissions as well. This protects our environment, as well as providing an economic savings in the manufacturing process, which is then hopefully passed on to the consumer.

Home Furnishings
Metal furniture is often made of recycled metals and can be beautiful and durable. Gliders, benches, tables and even lamps are just a few home furnishings that have been created from scrap metal.


metal art

Artistic Uses
Some people see a pile of scrap metal and envision a work of art. It has been used in beautiful sculptures by artists. Even people who are not professional artists have used their creativity to form works of beauty out of various recycled metals and are proud to display them on the walls of their homes. Decorative metalwork has a distinctive art style all its own.

Helping to Preserve Our Environment
In addition to the previously-mentioned uses of scrap metal, it is important to note just how much of a saving there is for our environment. Just in the use of recycled steel, there is an 86% reduction in air pollution. Reduction in water usage is 40%, and reduction in water pollution is 76%. Recycling scrap metal also reduces the size of our landfills. 

As the metal recycling industry continues to grow, I'm sure there will be even more uses found for scrap metal in the future. Recycling is just the smart thing to do.


Sarah Dawes writes for Wastecycle Ltd about all things related to recycling. Wastecycle is the East Midlands leading waste management and ferrous and non-ferrous metal recycling company. We’re proud of our commitment to zero waste to landfill policy and work hard towards this by continually investing in new technologies to make this possible.

Guest Blog’s represent the opinion of the writer and may not reflect the policy or position of the Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. 

Comments (4)

  1. scott :
    Dec 27, 2017 at 10:20 PM

    I like that you mentioned using scrap metal for art, even if you aren't an artist. I have been looking for ways to recycle metal I don't use anymore. I can see how it could be fun to use a machine to make art out of it. That way, I don't have to worry about my metal ending up in a landfill.

  2. scott :
    Aug 30, 2017 at 05:01 PM

    I hadn't thought about how you can use scrap metal to create art. I have been needing to make a sculpture for school, and I wasn't sure what material to use. I can see how it would be nice to use scrap metal, because my teacher really likes the look of metal art that has been done in the past.

  3. Athena Lee Bradley:
    Jul 25, 2017 at 02:32 PM

    Any metal is recyclable. Some may not provide any money, however. Check with your local solid waste office to see where you can recycle your garage door parts.

    Thanks for reading and posting your comment!

    Athena
    Northeast Recycling Council

  4. Lauren Jones:
    Jul 25, 2017 at 01:23 PM

    We have old garage door parts that we are looking to get rid of, and I want to know if it would be worth while to recycle this metal. It is good to know that metal furniture is often made of recycled metals. It is interesting to learn that this furniture can be beautiful and durable. These reasons are enough to get me to recycle. Thanks for the motivation.

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