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Using the examples of 2 metals, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of recycling over extraction.

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Introduction

Using the examples of 2 metals, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of recycling over extraction. Recycling is now a common word to the ears of any living men. It is a known fact that recycling will bring many advantages towards mankind and the lifespan of mother nature and earth. Many advertisements have been made to promote the goodness of recycling and to raise awareness towards the worries of everyone: POLLUTION which has increase dramatically since the existence of men and is continuously increasing at a high and dangerous rate! What is recycling? According to www.dictionary.com, recycling is the act of processing used or abandoned materials for use in creating new products. According to this definition, we can easily conclude that the act of recycling will decrease the amount of unwanted products and substances. Take aluminium for example, where do we get aluminium? No doubt that we can get aluminum from extraction but the main pull down of getting aluminium through the extraction process is the energy involved. ...read more.

Middle

Recycling aluminium too has its advantages. Recycling aluminium uses just 5% of the energy for extracting aluminium from the mineral. Potentially the mining and smelting of aluminium can have major environmental impact. The industry is very conscious of this and its efforts and achievements in rehabilitation of open cut sites and restoring flora and fauna have won awards from the United Nations Environment Programme. Red mud disposal areas are now successfully revegetated. Emissions from the pot line are passed through scrubbing systems to ensure that environmental requirements are met. The economic and environmental reasons for recycling most materials today are strong, but for aluminium they are absolutely compelling. It will progressively undermine the `aluminium is too expensive' philosophy as more and more aluminium is recycled. The reasons are simple, although it takes 14,000 KWH to produce 1 tonne of aluminium, it only takes 700 KWH, 5% of this, to remelt that same tonne when it is recycled. ...read more.

Conclusion

The reducing agents in the blast furnace are coke and carbon monoxide. Extraction of iron form its ores requires a high temperature and great deal of energy therefore iron is operated as a continuous process non-stop and is only ever shut down for maintenance work. The extraction of iron through the blast furnace will cause many environmental problems. Extraction of iron will leave large areas of land with quarries and heaps of spoil and slag. Restoring the appearance of the landscape can be very costly. Carbon monoxide which is produced from the blast furnace is also poisonous and toxic to all invertebrates. The sulphur impurities about 1.5% in UK ores produce sulphur dioxide which causes acid rain. Iron ores are a finite resource and the cost-effective mines will be exhausted one day. In the mean time, as deposits dwindle they become more expensive to mine, simply because we use the more readily available sources first. So as ores become scarcer, recycling becomes more economically favourable. Because of this, recycled iron and steel now accounts world-wide for 45% of all iron and steel produced. The recycling industry produces nearly 100% pure metal. ...read more.

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