cans collected for recycling

New versus recycled metals


Metal is a sustainable material that maintains its physical properties forever. Most metals can be recycled and reused repeatedly.


In addition, recycling produces significantly fewer greenhouse gasses than mining new metals. So, which is better, new or recycled metal? Here’s what you should know.


Mining new metals

Extracting metals from the earth is a complex process. Heavy equipment, and sometimes explosives, are typically used to displace millions of tons of dirt. Rocks are then crushed and metal extracted using either smelting or electrolysis. The metal is then processed several times before being transformed into different products.


Recycling existing metals

The recycling process can be broken down into different stages: collecting, sorting, processing, smelting and refining. Recycled materials are collected through scrapping and recycling programs. They get sorted according to the type of metal, processed into smaller shredded metals and melted in large furnaces. Melting requires the most energy of the whole process, but it’s nowhere near the amount of energy required to mine new metals. Once melted, metals must be purified or refined.


Refining metals

New and recycled metals are usually purified using electrolysis to produce a final product that is free of contaminants. The refining process is the same for both. Furthermore, the final purity of the two are identical. In the end, recycled metals are as strong and pure as new metals.


The benefits of recycling

Recycling has many advantages over mining. Here are a few:

• It’s less expensive. Recycling metal is easier and more cost-effective than extracting it from ore.

• It’s good for the environment. Mining is harmful to the environment. It destroys habitats and pollutes the air, land and water. Recycling metal doesn’t destroy natural environments.

• It preserves resources. There’s a finite amount of resources on the planet. Mining depletes these natural resources. Recycling reuses existing metals instead of extracting more.

• It reduces waste. Recycling lessens the amount of waste that accumulates in landfills.

• It uses less energy. Recycling requires much less energy than mining. For example, it takes 60 percent less energy to recycle copper than it does to mine it. The energy savings for aluminum is up to 90 percent.


Overall, metal recycling contributes to a healthy and sustainable environment.


Eco-friendly metal recycling in Edmonton

General Recycling Industries Ltd. is an environmentally conscious recycling company that buys, sells and recycles various scrap metals. We comply with environmental regulations and best practices. We have two locations in Edmonton and we offer drop-off locations where you can leave your scraps. Contact us today to learn more about our recycling services.