What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Recycling Metals?

The advantages of recycling metals are that it is landfill-friendly, environmentally conservative and a bolster to the economy. The disadvantages of recycling metals are uncertain results, job requirements and toxic byproducts. Though recycling is a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional waste management, it is still an imperfect process.

There are many benefits in recycling waste products. When recyclable waste is set aside and sent to recycling facilities by consumers, it results in a significant reduction in the amount of trash being dumped in landfills. Recycling conserves environmental resources, as when more products are being recycled, fewer raw materials are needed to create new products. Recycling metals is less-expensive than extracting raw metal to make products.

There are also many disadvantages associated with recycling metals. Recycled metals contain many impurities, so metals that have been recycled may be substandard and subject to usage restrictions. Recycling creates low-wage jobs that require workers to perform menial tasks, such as sorting through metal scraps. Recycling facilities usually provide poor working conditions, and workers may be exposed to toxins. Recycling metals creates fewer jobs than harvesting raw metal does. Recycling may release toxins such as methane gas into the environment if facilities do not keep byproducts contained.