It’s no secret that solid waste is a major environmental problem. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), each American produces about 4.5 pounds of garbage every day. Fortunately, little things like segregated trash cans are slowly but surely making people more aware of the need to recycle. In 2009 alone, the country was able to recycle more than a third of the garbage it threw away.
However, have you ever wondered what becomes of the scrap metal from old cars, machines, and equipment? For one Canadian man, the answer was art. The Nanaimo Daily News reports on a retired welder turned artist:
Retired welder and heavy equipment mechanic Brian Gibbling has found an unusually creative pastime to keep him busy in his retirement. Surrounded by thousands of pieces of scrap metal and machinery left over from a long career in welding and heavy duty mechanics, Gibbling decided that rather than take it all to the dump, he would recycle it into art.
He began to weld pieces together, and two and a half months later, he had constructed a 420 lb sculpture of a man feeding a bird…
With the help of his neighbour, he hauled it out into his front yard at 2007 Forest Dr. on Friday, where it has caused quite a stir.
“I just looked at a bunch of old parts and thought, ‘That looks like a collar bone to me,’ and away I went,” said Gibbling.
Of course, art pieces aren’t the only by-products that metal recycling produces. Unlike glass or paper, metals can be melted down and recycled indefinitely without losing their strength or chemical properties. For example, a typical car body is composed of 25% recycled steel. Steel can also be reused to build train tracks or bridges, and to manufacture small tools like hammers and wires.
With the help of scrap metal buyers like A&R Metal Recyclers, scrap metal recycling helps the environment because when less energy is used to manufacture metals from scratch, less greenhouse gas is released into the atmosphere. Recycling aluminum, for instance, reduces energy consumption by up to 92%. Reusing metals also conserves the finite supply of ores the planet has—recycling a ton of steel saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore from being used.
According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, America recycles 150 million metric tons of scrap metal each year. With the planet’s limited resources, each pound of metal reused is a giant weight lifted off Mother Earth’s shoulders.
(Article Excerpt and Image from Welder turns scrap-metal garbage into works of art, Nanaimo Daily News, 29 January 2013)