Steel is the world most recycled material, with almost 76 million tons of steel recycled in the U.S. in 2006. Every ton of steel that is recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone. New steel made with recycled material uses as little as 26 percent of the energy required to make steel from raw materials extracted from nature. (For more information, see Steel Takes LEED With Recycled Content at www.recycle-steel.org.)
Aluminum is also recycled extensively and provides a valuable component for most municipal recycling efforts. According to a recent survey, the recycled content of domestically produced, flat-rolled aluminum products used in commercial construction ranges from 80 to 85 percent. In addition, at the end of their useful life, aluminum roofing and siding panels can be repeatedly recycled into roofing and siding products without loss of quality.
Producing aluminum from recycled material requires only 5 percent of the energy required to produce aluminum from bauxite ore, and every ton of recycled aluminum saves four tons of bauxite. In addition, using recycled aluminum instead of raw materials reduces air pollution generation by 95 percent, and water pollution by 97 percent.
Copper is also a routinely recycled metal and it has the highest scrap value of any building metal. Copper is relatively high cost makes it an ideal product for sale to nonferrous-scrap recycling companies. The scrap is melted down and re-formed into a new product such as copper roofing, which contains 75 percent scrap, of which nearly 50 percent comes from discarded consumer products.
More than 30 percent of zinc used in all applications worldwide comes from recycled zinc products. In building applications, especially those in Europe, more than 90 percent of old, rolled zinc products are recovered and generally recycled into other types of zinc products. At the end of their life, rolled zinc products used in zinc commercial construction have an attractive residual value of up to 75 percent of the price of new zinc. The average recycled content of zinc in building products is estimated at less than 9 percent.
The amount of energy used to product zinc from ore is the lowest of all non-ferrous metals on the market. Energy consumption is even lower when zinc is produced from recycled material between 0.49 percent and 19.7 percent of the energy used to produce zinc from ore.
Background information from The Metal Initiative.
Alkemi Panels of recycled aluminum chips cast in resin.
Alusion Aluminum Foam "Alusion is 100% recyclable and is produced using post-industrial aluminum, which is composed of 20% post-consumer aluminum. Alusion Stabilized Aluminum Foam and its various versions are interior finish panels. They are available in two thicknesses 1/2 inch and 1 inch and in two densities Small Cell 15% and Large Cell 10%. The higher the density the smaller the cells and the heavier and less delicate the material."
Eco-Friendly Metal Tiles Recycled Aluminum and Brass tiles are made from 100% recycled metal and are available in sizes up to 12" x 12". Tiles available in polished, matte and sandblasted finishes.
[originally published at GreenDesignWiki.com]