What is the true importance of metal recycling?

Metal recycling and industrial sustainability

At rimsa, we are committed to manufacturing high-quality products and continually seeking innovative and reliable solutions to meet the diverse needs of our customers across various industries. Recognizing the vital importance of metal recycling in industrial sustainability, we consistently work to minimize waste generation and actively promote the valorization of metallic waste by reusing it at every stage of production. This initiative not only contributes to the conservation of valuable resources but also plays a crucial role in environmental preservation.

Metals are essential resources in numerous sectors, from construction to the food industry and energy. However, the extraction and refining of metals from traditional raw materials result in significant environmental impacts, including CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and air and water pollution. In this context, metal recycling emerges as an effective solution to mitigate these negative impacts and ensure a sustainable supply of these essential materials for our society.


  • Why are metals recycled?

Metal recycling is a practice that dates back many years and has multiple incentives, including:

  • Economic Incentive: Metal scrap holds economic value and can be sold at recycling centers, generating income and employment.
  • Environmental Incentive: Metal recycling preserves natural resources by reducing the need for mineral extraction while decreasing the amount of generated waste. Additionally, it requires less energy and emits less CO2 compared to production from virgin raw materials.
  • Commercial Incentive: The European Union, for example, heavily relies on the importation of pure metals to meet its growing demand. Hence, metal recycling offers added value and contributes to supply chain security.


  • Highlighted Recyclable Metals

Some of the most recyclable and valuable metals in terms of demand include:

  • Steel: Steel, an alloy of iron and carbon, is highly recyclable and used in various applications, from construction to automobile manufacturing. Over 90% of stainless steel is recycled, and more than 35% of the world’s crude steel is manufactured from recycled steel.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum, known for its lightweight properties, is essential in the automotive and energy industries. Around 90% of this metal from construction and transportation is recovered. Recycling aluminum can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 92%.
  • Copper: Copper is widely used in construction, electronics, and the transportation industry. About 70% of products containing copper that reach the end of their life cycle are recycled. Recycled copper reduces CO2 emissions by 65%.


  • Where do recycled metals go?

Recycled metals are reintroduced into the manufacturing cycle and used in a wide variety of applications, including:

  • Food Industry: Recycled aluminum is heavily used in packaging, machinery, and equipment, contributing to the sustainability of the food supply chain.
  • Construction Industry: Recycled steel and other metals are utilized in building structures such as bridges and roads.
  • Transportation Industry: Recycled aluminum and steel are essential in manufacturing automobiles, airplanes, and trains.
  • Home Goods Industry: Furniture, kitchen utensils, and appliances can contain recycled metals.
  • Energy Industry: Recycled metals are used in the manufacturing of equipment and energy technologies, such as wind turbines and solar panels.


  • The Metal Recycling Process

Metal recycling involves several essential steps:

  • Collection: Recyclable metals are collected from various sources, such as car scrapyards, demolition sites, and manufacturing waste.
  • Sorting: Metals are separated from other materials using magnets, sensors, and scrapers. They are sorted based on characteristics like color and weight.
  • Processing: Metals are crushed to ease their melting, saving energy in the smelting process.
  • Smelting: Crushed scrap is melted in furnaces specific to each type of metal to give it the desired shape using molds.
  • Purification: Processes, either hydrometallurgical or pyrometallurgical, are employed to obtain high-quality metals free from impurities.
  • Transportation: Recycled metals are sent to factories as raw material for use in production.

In summary, metal recycling plays a fundamental role in promoting the circular economy and reducing the environmental impact of various industrial activities. Additionally, it contributes to sustainability, resource conservation, and job creation. As environmental awareness continues to grow, metal recycling becomes an essential part of our sustainability initiatives and resource conservation while minimizing waste generation.