Recycled Metal and Recyclability
As consumers, there really is little we can do to “close the loop” by actually choosing products which are produced from the materials we put in our recycling bins each week. Additionally, though, we should be concerned when making product purchases as to whether that product is recyclable at the end of its useful life or if it will require eventual landfill disposal.
Most metals have significant recycled content. This is important not only because of the re-use of the material itself but also because recycled metal uses far less production energy than does virgin metal. As an example, recycled aluminum is estimated to have 5% the embodied energy possessed by virgin aluminum.
Metal roofing makes a wise choice from an environmental standpoint. This includes respect for its recycled content and recyclability. The alloy used in most aluminum roof systems has approximately 95% recycled content, the majority of that being post-consumer in the form of used beverage containers. Most steel used in roofing today has about 35% recycled content. Copper is also often high in recycled content. Additionally, while the estimate life of a metal roof is quite long (another ecological benefit!), the metal will be 100% recyclable when the roof is eventually replaced.