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8 votes

Can I recycle greasy metal in the US?

Scrap metals are not cleaned, they are melted. For steel; Zn, Sn, Pb, and others vaporize or oxidize. The most problematic is Zn as the oxide in the slag can deteriorate the refractory. Aluminum is ...
7 votes

Can alloy wheels (for a car) pay for themselves through fuel savings?

A quick look doesn't show a clearcut weight difference. The claim is more for a 'rounder' wheel and a 'stiffer wheel' First order approximation fuel economy depends on the weight of the vehicle, ...
6 votes
Accepted

Can I recycle greasy metal in the US?

Oh, that's really not a problem. Recycling metal involves pre-processing. They are concerned with contaminants like paint and plating getting into the batch. What they use to remove paint and ...
6 votes

Is Lithium mining any better for the environment than fossil fuel extraction?

I am not an expert on mining, but I do know my way on fossil fuel extraction. Getting oil from the earth and making it into fuel is not as easy as it sounds, and really the process is way more ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Is Lithium mining any better for the environment than fossil fuel extraction?

Your friend is wrong and here's why. Lithium is mined once and can be reused in any number of vehicles. When the vehicle breaks, its lithium will replace newly mined lithium. If we need let's say 2 ...
  • 3,494
5 votes

Why is so much railroad steel not recycled?

The old rails are certainly reused frequently here in the UK - they start off being used on high-speed lines. When they're too worn for that they get reused on low-speed lines, and then again on ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Is using copper for gutters and roofs a sustainable choice?

Availability in the long term You didn't include in your list a mention of how available copper will be in the future; this matters, for sustainability, because we can't afford to be using it for ...
3 votes

Can alloy wheels (for a car) pay for themselves through fuel savings?

Theory The calculation in the other answer is rather naive. I haven't done the calculation myself, but there are a few things to consider. First of all, lighter wheels mean more than just lower ...
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3 votes

How can I support the recycling, but not the new production of aluminum?

You can advocate for a carbon tax. When fossil fuel energy costs more, recycling is more economically valuable. Cheap power means easier to mine new aluminum. We really need a carbon tax for many ...
3 votes

How can I support the recycling, but not the new production of aluminum?

You (probably) cannot do it on demand side. The reason this is impossible is that 99% of aluminum users don't care if their aluminum comes from recycled sources. Let's say there's need for 100 units ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Are aluminum sheets appropriate for rainwater catchment roof?

You've raised a few issues in your posts, so having just built a new house I'll address those I'm able to: To start with, I live in a country/area where corrugated steel roofing is the absolute norm ...
  • 2,754
3 votes

Best Uses for Scrap Aluminum

1. Reuse There are several websites describing ways to reuse aluminium cans, for example this page on WikiHow.com or this one on Earth911.com. Most common is to reuse them as a holder of some sorts (...
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2 votes
Accepted

Is the metal use per person rising?

Metal production compared to population Our World in Data provides statistics on global annual primary production of metals: They also provide population data over the same time period. If we ...
  • 11.4k
2 votes

Can alloy wheels (for a car) pay for themselves through fuel savings?

Wheel price is low If you buy for fuel economy, then scuffed wheels from a scrapyard search service or classified ads are OK. "$600 for a set of alloy wheels. Given the costs I saw at Tiretown ... ...
2 votes

How can I form heat sinks from waste aluminum?

Forget the foil. Even if you laminate it, you'll never eliminate tiny air gaps, which will make it into a fairly effective insulator. I've seen (copper) heatsinks made from thin precision-cut fins, ...
  • 2,047
2 votes

Why is so much railroad steel not recycled?

100% of all railroad steel is recycled... Eventually On the active railroads (which you should not be walking on, by the way), you're seeing evidence of recent maintenance-of-way. It is SOP in ...
2 votes

Why is so much railroad steel not recycled?

You are too late. A great tonnage of rail has already been used in the US. There is not "much" left in terms of serious usage. RR rails are hard, that is to say, they have a relatively high carbon ...
1 vote

Best Uses for Scrap Aluminum

Contrary to the common mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle", aluminium is best recycled instead of reused in a household setting. The reason for this is that demand for aluminium currently far outstrips ...
1 vote

Best Uses for Scrap Aluminum

First, it's pretty easy to remove sugary contaminants from the can right after you drain it. Everything is still wet, and you can just use dilution homeopathy style. If water is an issue in your ...
1 vote

Best Uses for Scrap Aluminum

You should do like all the commercial reverse vending machines do: crush the aluminum, don't melt it. The other answer already has one example way of crushing aluminum. If that doesn't work, well, try ...
  • 3,494
1 vote

Are aluminum sheets appropriate for rainwater catchment roof?

As it turns there are several solutions. And as I've discovered, the headline is: aluminum is probably fine. HOWEVER ... in my case I think it will be cost-prohibitive, since a 4x8 sheet costs ~$100. ...
1 vote

Is using copper for gutters and roofs a sustainable choice?

Copper for such a use could potentially be a health risk to those succeptable to things like hepatolenticular degeneration. This depends on how much copper is already present in the soil, what type of ...
1 vote

Best options for decarbonising steel production?

What are the most promising alternatives, in terms of the economics and scalability, to decarbonise steel production? Both for the reduction of iron oxide to iron, and for the iron-to-steel process? ...
  • 3,494
1 vote

Sustainability of steel versus plastic bottles

There are a lot of factors and different ways to view environmental impact and it depends on your priorities. If you prioritize energy used to produce, assuming Nate's citation is correct, the steel ...
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