When most think of scrap metal recycling, they picture a large automobile rolling slowly into a mega shredder. Others think of ‘recycling’ in terms of bins in the driveway or picture Sanford and Son loading up the truck and heading to the junkyard with the day’s catch of refrigerators, ladders,washing machines and any other items found along the way. Often overlooked is the positive impact recycling has on our environment, economy and everyday lives. In addition, the linkage into key segments of business such as manufacturing, utilities and construction has altered goals to include green recycling initiatives.

Traditionally, scrap metal recyclers had one common goal: buying large quantities of metals to improve their mill positions and achieve optimum pricing. Today’s successful metal recyclers have found a way to turn ‘waste streams’ into ‘revenue streams’. A culture of innovation has these leaders
stepping outside the scrap metal box to differentiate themselves through charitable and social involvement coupled with environmental stewardship.

Environment:
One part of the environmental assessment equation often overlooked is: where do the materials and metals used in manufacturing originate, and when obsolescence occurs, what is the final  disposition? There have been some researchers and green activists who trace these steps only to conclude that waste is bad for the environment and recycling is good— but why?
When we recycle a material such as copper, we are limiting the amount of raw copper ore needed to aid in manufacturing new product. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), scrap copper makes up 43% of the copper used every year, at an 85% energy savings. The same theories apply to recycled products such as steel, paper, wood, plastics, oil or any other materials that rely on harvesting our natural resources.
Recycling, a key function and revenue generator of the investment recovery process, limits our dependency on mining raw materials; it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by diverting otherwise usable materials from landfills. Closed-loop recycling not only improves environmental sustainability but also can have a positive impact on our macro economy.
Economy:
Metal recycling has gained much momentum in today’s economy as all segments of business are looking for ways to reduce expenses and increase revenues. This has recently pushed metal and by-product recycling to the top of the list. As mentioned above, traditional scrap metal recycling programs were awarded to the highest per-pound bidder and waste to the lowest-cost vendor. This outdated procurement methodology increases the number of vendors a business must engage within their operating side. Redundancy essentially occurs within invoicing, material handling and overall supplier management.
Today, there are metal recycling companies that take a consultative approach to create a single-source recycling service by aggregating volumes of metal and non-metal by-products. This means they are astute at marketing commodities while also creatively finding end users for many non-metallics, thus keeping them out of the waste stream. They have the ability to track these non-metallic materials to support federal, state and local green incentives. In conclusion, the importance of establishing a closed-loop supply chain driven by progressive recycling practices is becoming more visible. Combining the art of recycling with the science of modern application can provide the formula to help preserve the earth’s natural resources. Investment recovery programs operate under the mantra of ‘Recycling today for the children of tomorrow,’ initiating a powerful economic benefit for future generations.
 
Reprinted from ASSET 2.0, the Investment Recovery Business Journal, Vol. 6, 2009

© The Investment Recovery Association

 

 

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