Metals of all types are important and valuable resources. Although their natural supply or the supplies of elements that go into producing various alloys are fixed, metals are highly recyclable and reusable. Precious metals, such as gold and silver, are rarely, if ever, discarded. Even used industrial metals are valuable commodities. The 320-ton “Forevertron” located in North Freedom, Wisconsin is┬áthe world’s largest sculpture made from metal scraps.

Definition: Renewable vs. Nonrenewable

Renewable resources are capable of being replaced by natural or ecologic cycles. Examples of renewable resources are trees, wind and water. A nonrenewable resource, of course, cannot be naturally replaced. Typically, nonrenewable resources are found in the ground, such as rocks, fossil fuels and minerals. Once they are depleted, they are gone forever.

Metal as a Resource

Metals, such as copper, tin, lead, aluminum, gold and silver, are elements. They are nonrenewable. Steel is are made from iron, which is also nonrenewable. Aluminum, iron and titanium are among the three most abundant elements in the Earth’s crust.

Metal Recycling

Although the elements and resources that go into producing metal products are nonrenewable, metal can be recycled, making it a hybrid between renewable and nonrenewable classification. According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, or ISRI, as cited by, “81.6 million tons of iron and steel, 5 million tons of aluminum and 1.8 million tons of copper” are recycled each year. Other recyclable metals include brass, zinc, magnesium, tin and lead. Many of these can be recycled endlessly, eliminating the need for virgin, nonrenewable resources.

Metal Values

Metals are the highest-priced recyclable materials. In August 2010, the London Metal Exchange price for aluminum averaged over $2,000 per ton, lead averaged over $19,000 per ton, copper over $7,300 per ton and tin averaged $14,300 per ton, according to Although prices fluctuate over time, metals are continually more valuable than other recyclables, such as paper or plastic. You can easily sell gold, silver or platinum for cash. Scrap metal is one of the two major exports that the United States sends to China.

Copper – The World’s Most Reusable Resource

For nearly 5,000 years, copper was the only metal known to man. Today, it’s one of the most used and reused of our “modern” metals. Look closely at the next penny you see and consider these bright facts about copper:

  • The copper on that penny maybe as old as the pharaohs, because copper has an infinite recyclable life. Copper, by itself or in any of its alloys, such as brass or bronze, is used over and over again.
  • Copper was first used by humans more than 10,000 years ago. A copper pendant discovered in what is now northern Iraq has been dated about 8700 B.C.
  • Each year in the U.S.A., nearly as much copper is recovered from recycled material as is derived from newly mined ore… and when you exclude wire production, most of which uses newly refined copper, the amount of copper used by copper and brass mills, ingot makers, foundries, powder plants and other industries shows that nearly three-fourths (72%) comes from recycled copper scrap.
  • Copper’s recycling value is so great that premium-grade scrap normally has at least 95% of the value of the primary metal from newly mined ore.
  • The U.S. does not depend on foreign copper… we are completely self-sufficient.

Benefits of Recycling Metal

There are many benefits to recycling metals in addition to their cash value. Recycling them saves nonrenewable resources and reduces the need for additional mining. Producing new products from recycled metals saves a great deal of energy. The ISRI estimates that making beverage cans from recycled aluminum uses 95 percent less energy than making them from bauxite. Reducing energy demands also reduces the demand for the fossil fuels used to create it. Fossil fuels are also nonrenewable.

Your Local Scrap Metal Recycling Facility

TT&E Iron & Metal, Inc. purchases scrap metal and ships out 25-30 truckloads of recyclable metal every day. All of this metal is processed on site and within weeks is reprocessed into useable products. This greatly reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or metals that would have to be mined.

TT&E Iron & Metal, Inc. also contributes to a greener planet by using its electric and water-cooled shredder. This eco-friendly, hybrid shredder has no negative impact on the environment. You can feel good bringing your metal to us.

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