Municipal recycling solutions.
Sims Municipal Recycling is a division of Sims Metal Management, the world's largest publicly traded metals and electronics recycler.
Based on our fiscal 2010 sales volume of 13.2 million metric tons, using these recycled materials, as opposed to virgin materials, saved enough energy to provide power for more than 6.3 million households (or 15 million people) – roughly equivalent to the combined population of the three biggest US cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Saving this energy also prevented the emission of 13.6 million metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, almost equivalent to the entire CO2 emission of Sweden.
Steel is by far North America’s most recycled material. In fact, the electric arc furnace, the most cost-efficient steel mill design, was developed to operate exclusively on recycled steel instead of iron ore. Steel has no memory, so it can be consistently and easily recycled with little or no loss in quality.
Recycling and the Economy
Recycling plays an important role in balancing the US trade balance – exporting the raw materials that power the world’s economy, while helping prevent the use of limited natural resources. Recycling is a $65 billion industry employing more than 50,000 men and women across North America, accounting for 2% of the US GDP. Additionally, the worldwide recycling industry invests around $20 billion each year on new equipment and research & development.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
- It takes the same amount of energy to produce 20 recycled aluminum cans as it does to produce just one new aluminum can.
- Producing recycled aluminum creates 97% less water pollution than producing new metal from ore.
- Every three months, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the entire US commercial air fleet.
- Recycling plastic saves 84% of the energy required to make plastic bottles from raw materials (i.e., crude oil).
- Glass can be recycled again and again with no loss in quality or purity.
- Three fourths of all American steel ends up recycled into new products and all of today's steel products contain recycled steel.
- The typical appliance consists of about 75% steel by weight and is easily recyclable.
- Energy requirements decrease 60% when using steel scrap to make new steel compared to mining iron ore and smelting it in a blast furnace.
- Recycling one ton of steel saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
- Automobiles are the most recycled consumer products, with large amounts of steel and other valuable recyclable materials, which have a recycling rate close to 100% – meaning that a car at the end of its useful life is not destined for a landfill, but for a recycling facility.