Scrap Metal Recycling in Canada and the UK

It is estimated that 10 million tonnes of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal are recycled in Canada annually (Natural Resources Canada, 2007a) with an estimated 92% of appliances and 98% of cars recycled (Canadian Appliance Manufacturers Association, Hanson Research + Communications and Hilkene International Policy, 2005; Canadian Steel Producers Association, 2007a). In Alberta, 95,916 tonnes of ferrous metal, 11,447 tonnes of mixed metal, and 12,108 tonnes of white goods were collected by either a private sector hauler or a local government organization for recycling in 2004 (Statistics Canada, 2007). Canada’s metal recycling sector is both mature and extensive, comprising in excess of 2,800 businesses (Natural Resources Canada, 2007b).

Virtually every major Canadian community has local metal processors. Given the enormous global demand for scrap metal, the value of all scrap metal types have never been as high as they are now. For more information about the trade in recycled metals, consult the 2005 Canadian Minerals Yearbook. The most recycled material in the world is steel, with more recovered annually in Canada than aluminum, glass, and paper combined (Canadian Steel Producers Association, 2007a). Steel is also recycled five times more than the sum of all other metals (e.g., aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, chromium, and zinc) (Canadian Steel Producers Association, 2007b).

In Canada, steel has a recycling rate of more than 65% and – like all metals – is 100% recyclable (Canadian Steel Producers Association, 2007a). Two processes are used to make steel: the Basic Oxygen Furnace and the Electric Arc Furnace, utilizing a minimum of 25% recycled steel and nearly 100% recycled steel, respectively (Dofasco, 2007). Steel recycling contributes to an energy savings equivalent of electrically powering one-fifth of Canadian households for one year, and reduces demand for virgin resources; every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 lbs of iron ore, 1,400 lbs of coal, and 120 lbs of limestone (Canadian Steel Producers Association, 2007b). Every tonne of primary aluminum requires many different inputs including but not limited to 5,168 kg of bauxite, 159 kg of caustic soda, 349 kg of petrol coke, and 40.5 cubic metres of water (International Aluminum Institute, 2003).

From an energy use perspective, every tonne of rolled aluminum made from virgin inputs requires about 120 gigajoules (GJ) (ICF Consulting, 2005). The energy use for the same rolled product using 100% recycled feedstock is about 17 GJ per tonne. The energy savings are therefore 103 GJ (or 95,790 cubic feet of gas) when aluminum scrap is recycled. In comparison, the average Canadian home uses about 148 GJ per year (Canadian Residential Energy End-use Data and Analysis Centre, 1997). Recycling Council of Alberta August 2007 Page 8 3 Benefits of Recycling Scrap Metal Scrap metal recovery has numerous benefits:

1) Saves energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions

2) Conserves natural resources and reduces the impact of resource extraction on the environment

3) Reduces landfill waste, including old cars and discarded household items

4) Creates employment opportunities

5) Contributes to community pride (improves aesthetics, as less scrap metal is left along roadsides or on private property) 4 Related Regulations and Requirements – This section discusses regulations relevant to scrap metal recycling, including environmental acts, regulations relating to hazardous waste disposal at landfills, and transportation cargo securement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *