On the surface, metal recycling might not seem overly exciting BUT as we dig deeper into the steel scrap pile, there’s all sorts of shocking stats and facts that we’re still trying to get our heads around. From how long you can run an iPod on tin power to why you need a bank account to sell scrap metal – here’s 10 Fascinating Facts about recycling that you probably didn’t know!
- IT’S ILLEGAL TO PAY CASH FOR SCRAP METAL
In an attempt to cut down on metal theft, the law was revised in 2013. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 now means it’s a criminal offence to pay unless it’s by electronic transfer or cheque.
- ONE SMALL STEP FOR CAN
If we lined up all the cans used each year in the UK, they would reach the moon – and back!
- ENERGY IN A CAN
It can take only six weeks from a can being put in a recycling bin to finding its way back onto shelves. The energy needed to recycle aluminium cans is 95% less than what it takes to make new ones.
- SHOCKING BATTERY STATS
The energy needed to create a battery is 50 times more than what is created for the finished product we end up being able to use. The UK throws around 600m batteries away each year and only 27% are recycled. That means 20,000 tonnes of battery waste ends up in landfill.
- TINS FOR TV
The energy saved by recycling a tin, instead of creating a brand new, one equates to the same amount of energy you’d need to watch TV for around three hours. That’s the same amount of power needed to use an IPod for 20 hours.
- MADE TO LAST
Around three quarters of the aluminium ever made Is still in production – and it can be recycled over and over without a noticeable loss in quality.
- FIGURE OF 8
In one year, a single drinks can can save enough energy to make 160 new cans – by being recycled eight times in the 12 months.
- THE UK PRODUCES ABOUT 7M TONNES OF STEEL A YEAR
Meanwhile China produces over 800 million.
- A FURTHER 10M TONNES OF SCRAP IS GENERATED
Around 80% is exported to other countries to be processed.
In places, cans are actually a lot thinner than you might think! The thinnest part of a can wall measures only 0.07mm thick – that’s thinner than a human hair!