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Journey of Metals - Introducing the Journey of Metals

23 September 2019

Want to know what happens to your scrap metal after it goes through a recycling centre? How about where it ends up? Or even why it’s so important as part of our journey to a circular economy – a world without waste?

Our Journey of Metals content has you covered from A(luminium) to Z(inc).

With our recent research revealing that only 32% of the British public would take their waste metal to a metal recycling centre, we’ve developed the Journey of Metals. We want to highlight what makes certain metals so valuable, map where they could go once they’ve been recycled, and demonstrate how recycling waste metal delivers significant environmental benefits.

Find out more about the journey of each of the below ferrous and non-ferrous metals:


Most metals can be infinitely recycled without loss of their physical properties. This means that after a metal has been extracted as ore, it can be used for a whole range of different applications multiple times over.

Recycled metals are everywhere you look, acting as a building block for industries including transport, construction, manufacturing, healthcare, energy and more. That means that metal from your old car, fridge or aluminium can, might hold up the next iconic skyscraper, cruise the oceans, or even blast off into space as part of a rocket!

As each metal has completely unique properties, a reliable supply ensured through recycling is essential to maintaining human progress. Recycled metal not only reduce our reliance on natural resources for a more circular economy, but supports the wider development of future technologies such as electric cars, renewable energy and fuel cells.

And with such a range of applications, it’s little wonder that recycled metal is imported and exported the world over. While the US and China dominate the waste metal market, you might be surprised to know that France is the greatest exporter of scrap zinc, or that India imports the most lead scrap in the world.

Our infographic maps out where in the world recycled metals go, who imports and exports the most, and what certain metals are most commonly used for. You can download the infographic here.

If you’re interested in regular updates on metal recycling, follow our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, where we’ll be posting top tips, stats and facts as part of #EMRFactFriday.

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