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METALS RECYCLING: The game changer of the future

As we embrace globalization, the world is confronting the challenge of its

capability to provide people their needs and aid in their survival without harming its
ecological niche. The demand for renewable and nonrenewable resources, where
consumer products and commodities are usually derived, is drastically increasing
along with population growth. To some extent, there are emerging technologies to
harness renewable energy and the world now acknowledges that nonrenewable
energy is finite. To address this global issue, the drive for sustainable development
is being recognized. Sustainability is a comprehensive approach to the major facets
of the world from social, economic, and environmental advancement. These three
are the key elements for human kind to responsibly use the resources while
maintaining the equilibrium amongst biological and ecological complexities (Masson

The extensive variety of application of metals and end-of-life use is closely

linked to economic advancement and environmental sustainability initiatives. Metals
recycling has grown over the years because of the efforts to minimize the use of
precious metals and minerals extracted from the earths crust. Traditionally, the
materials life cycle starts from ore extraction in the earths crust, ore processing by
physical and chemical separation, fabrication and assembly of finished products and
lastly its disposal (Rankin 2011). Ayres (1997) classified the recovery of metals into
four schemes: reuse, repair, remanufacture and recycling. Scrap metals, like
electronic parts and its accessories, can be reused by utilizing them into an
alternative suitable use. Other materials may be assessed and may involve repair
once they are corroded, damaged or broken to be able to return to their original
state and condition. Equipment requiring intricate repair may be remanufactured to
conform with the required stipulations to extend its service life. More recent
attention has focused on the provision on practice of metals recovery through
recycling, even in industrialized countries, which involves collection logistics and
processing materials with the use of greener technology (Rankin 2011).
It appears that environmental sustainable development through metals
recycling offers a range of benefits. As the waste generated from consumer
products and industrial effluent are minimized, the usage and handling of primary
metals and minerals are also lowered, thereby requiring a small-scale landfill
volume. Cleaner and greener recycling technologies entails lower power utilization
and reduces carbon emissions. Other scientific evidence indicates that there are
also drawbacks confronted in the metals recycling process (Rankin 2011).
Processing of recycled metals has yet to be established and developed due to some
restrictions. Typically, the quality of material produced from recycled metals
deteriorates due to the presence of impurities. Budget constraints may also be
considered since metals recovery require complicated chemical processes (Rankin

Despite its exploratory nature, metals recycling offers insights into its
significance to boost the economy and preserve the environment. I strongly believe
that the metals recycling aids towards sustainability and its weaknesses as a
process can be regulated through extensive research. Policy reforms, business and
economic frameworks, cleaner and greener technologies are the key to success of
metals recycling that lies from the collective efforts and initiatives from the society,
the government, and environmentalists toward sustainability.

Ayres, Robert U. 1997. "Metals Recycling : Economic and Environmental

Implications." Resources, Conservation and Recycling 145173.
Masson, Matthew. 2017. What Is Sustainability and Why Is It Important?
Rankin, W. J. 2011. Minerals, Metals and Sustainability : Meeting Future Material
Needs. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Publishing.