Sustainability Series: Recycled Metals

By C.A. Lawton | March 17, 2021
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Foundries have been setting high standards for recycling and inspiring other industries to adapt to their level of sustainability. For centuries, foundries have been making new metal objects by remelting old ones. For example, the oldest existing casting is a copper frog made in Mesopotamia dating back to 3200 B.C. Metalcasting facilities recycle more than 14 million tons, or 31.5 million pounds of steel each year. This is enough energy to light the homes of Chicago for one year. Foundries have been implicating this process of using discarded scraps as a resource to keep producing products. The metals that no longer have use are commonly sent to industries like foundries, but what types of scraps are being sent over?

Foundries convert unwanted scrap metal and recycle it into new valuable products. The scraps can include broken and dated appliances, sewer grates, cans, automobiles, and water meters to name a few. These may seem like pieces you would find in the trash, but these are actually raw materials to foundries. Hundreds and millions of tons of scrap metal are consumed each year making the transformation to create new products. Due to this continued recycling, production costs are significantly cut when scrap and recycled metals are used because it requires less energy. Specifically, the price of a casting would go up by 20–40% without taking advantage of recycled materials. At all phases of the metalcasting process, from beginning to end, recycling is implemented to create more and more continuous sustainability. 

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