Which Metals are Recycled in the UK?

If your business currently has an excess of metal that you want to dispose of in an eco-friendly fashion, then you might be interested to know which metals are currently recyclable in our country. In this blog, we’ll talk you through some of the minutiae associated with scrap metal recycling so that you can be sure that choosing an eco-conscious recycling company like ourselves is the correct decision for you and your business.

Which Metals are Recycled in the UK?

In the UK, the most popularly recycled metals by weight are iron and steel, but almost all metals are, in fact, recyclable. According to the University of Cambridge, other popular metals include lead, zinc, aluminium and copper. Currently, it is thought that the use of recycled metals across the EU saves around 200 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Whether or not a metal is recycled in the UK often depends on feasibility and economic gain. Although many different types of metals are extracted and processed in the UK, the truth is that overall BMRA members necessarily export 80% of their collected metals to be processed elsewhere due to the lack of foundries and smelters operating in the UK.

Ferrous Metals in the UK

Ferrous metals are more popular recyclable materials in the business of metal recycling because they are often more financially beneficial to process and are less energy intensive than non-ferrous metals. One of the most popular ferrous metals is carbon steel, but others include cast and wrought iron. In the UK, ferrous metal collecting and processing culminates to around £5bn of revenue every year.

Non-Ferrous Metals in the UK

Non-ferrous metals are more difficult to recycle, but they are just as important in the effort to move towards a world which is eco-conscious. Metals under this bracket include lead, titanium, aluminium and copper. These metals are less valuable when they are contaminated, however, so the UK employs a system which grades these metals dependent on their purity and quality.


The Metal Recycling Industry Compared to Others

One example of our countries’ commitment to metal recycling is the fact that the UK recycles, on average, around 12 million tonnes of scrap metal every year. Compare this to the 2,000 tonnes of wasted plastic straws that the country used to send to landfill every year before the paper straw movement. These figures are published by BMRA – the British Metals Recycling Association – under which Morecambe Metals are fully licensed, alongside UK health and safety legislation.

Steps for the Future

The next step in British waste strategy should be to improve the management of our valuable resources and seeking to process them in our own country, rather than losing them to foreign countries who are benefitting from our country’s disorganisation.

At Morecambe Metals, we finish what we start and offer a complete recycling package which is beneficial not only for our country but also for planet Earth. Many countries export their scrap metal waste to China, which creates a carbon footprint from the effort of transporting it there. This energy can be saved by recycling at plants which can offer these services on-site, rather than half a world away.

Some Facts and Figures

Although industrial and commercial waste is the biggest contributor to waste worldwide, it is also important to make progress with household waste recycling. The EU has set the UK a target to recycle a minimum of 50% by 2020; in 2017 England was recycling 45.2% overall.

There is hope, however, with a fantastic achieved rate of 71.3% packaging metals recovered in 2017 which far exceeds the 50% target, a figure beaten only by paper and cardboard collection and processing which totalled 79%.

Recycling is an extremely important process for both businesses and individuals to consider in everyday life and processes. Innovating ways in which more of our resources can be saved will help our country to grow in the long run, as well as providing ample resources for marketing in the short term – everyone loves an eco-conscious industry. We can offer you the services that you need, so get in touch with us today for more information regarding collection.