Wednesday 20 June 2018
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Global Participation in Recycling: More a Benefit Than Inconvenience

Nearly a third of the global population today uses a smartphone and has access to a global network of information and knowledge, a level of global participation that is unprecedented and second only to basic survival activities such as breathing air, eating food, or drinking water. If a Nobel Prize winner from the early 20th century had taken the stage to suggest to the prominent scientists of the time that in less than a century, a third of the global population would have nearly instant access to the sum of nearly all of humanity’s accumulated knowledge, or that an individual anywhere on Earth could directly affect the actions of an individual on the other side of the planet within mere seconds, undoubtedly that Nobel Prize winner would have been laughed off the stage. Yet here in the 21st century, that act of sending a text around the world is hardly given a second thought.

What You Do Has Lasting Effects

The fact that your actions can affect someone on the other side of the world is easily taken for granted, but the implications are profound. What you do will impact the future of humanity, whether it’s driving a petrol guzzling 4WD or failing to recycle and conserve natural resources. It’s not a stretch to assume that because a third of humanity has access to the internet, certain popular trends and terms are becoming globally recognised, such as “recycling,” “conservation,” or “sustainability.” Nor is it a stretch to say that with the potential for global participation, the practice of recycling materials such as metals, glass, concrete, paper, and wood can have a tremendous impact on global sustainability. Technology has made it possible to make global connections and conservation-minded practices such as metal recycling in Perth and Detroit, paper recycling in Sydney and New Jersey, and glass recycling in Melbourne and Seattle achieve global sustainability.

Cash for Your Scrap

Recycling is great for the environment because it generally takes less work to re-utilise recycled material than it would to harvest new materials from the Earth, purify and refine them, and put them into production. For example, old glass and recycled glass can be melted down and used in the manufacturing of new glass products, rather than having to mine silica sand, refine it, and melt it into glass. This potential assigns value to recyclable materials, and if a material is deemed valuable, that means you can make money by selling that material. Everyone generates scrap metal, glass, plastics, and other recyclable materials. The key to making it worthwhile is to make it convenient for people to use recycling bins so that you can regularly collect materials and sell them to recyclers.

Metal Recycling Tips

Unless you regularly use and dispose of metal products, metals are likely to be the least common recyclable materials that you will come by. Fortunately, metals are the most valuable, which makes recycling them worth some consideration. The key to getting the most out of metal recycling is separating scrap metals into ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals, then separating the copper products from the other non-ferrous metals.  A powerful magnet is helpful. If the metal is magnetic, it goes in the ferrous pile. If the metal is not magnetic, inspect it carefully and separate the copper (bright copper or bluish copper appearance) from the non-copper (silver or whitish) metals, and head to the scrap yard. You will get more money for the non-ferrous metals, with copper having the highest value.