The prices that we’re able to offer for your scrap metal fluctuate with the ups and downs of the scrap metal market. The value of copper rises and falls as the need for and availability of copper changes. The cash that we pay you for aluminum varies as manufacturers find needs for new aluminum. These fluctuations follow trends, and we follow them.
Here’s what we’re seeing for the next few years:
- The market for recycled metals is growing, and will continue to grow.
There are three large factors driving this growth: Economic growth around the world creating more consumers, the explosion of personal electronics, and the drive towards sustainability.
Countries like China and India are growing every day. As of 2018, those two countries combined with the other Asia Pacific countries to make up a population exceeding four billion people. These countries also have growing economies, and those economies need factories and buildings and modern data centers. Populating these businesses are a growing middle class, which clamors for the iPhones and computers and soft drinks that require more and more metal.
These growing economies aren’t the only ones looking for personal electronic devices. As COVID continues to impact the globe, more people are working and learning from home, and the living room has replaced the movie theater. While the pandemic upended most consumer habits, leaving retailers and restaurants struggling, the demand for personal communication and computer devices is expected to grow by 3% through 2025.
Which brings us to sustainability…
- Consumers want green products.
Adidas is one of the world’s largest athletic shoe manufacturers. They recently released a new shoe, the Futurecraft.Loop, which aims to disrupt the company’s supply chain. Starting with recycled ocean plastics, they’ve created a running shoe that uses a single material and no glue. It’s from 100% recycled materials. Once the shoe reaches the end of its useful life, it’s sent back to Adidas where it’s washed, ground into pellets, and then melted down. This melted down plastic is then woven into threads which are used to make another pair of Futurecraft.Loop sneakers.
Adidas isn’t the only big name thinking this way.
Ford Motor Company is the leading motor vehicle company in the world, and their F-150 pickup is their flagship model. Part of Ford’s business plan right now is to go carbon neutral by 2050 and eliminate single-use plastics by 2030. They also want to close the loop on their supply chain.
Recognizing that metals like steel and aluminum and copper are finite resources, they redesigned their F-150 with sustainability in mind. Using a new high-strength steel for the frame and a military-grade aluminum body, they were able to shave 700 pounds off of the average F-150. Not only does this create a more efficient fuel economy, much of the body of the truck can be recycled. Using aluminum adds a benefit for repairs as well. Analysts say that the average auto body repair for the aluminum F-150 is $2,000 cheaper than the average pickup.
Much like today’s diners are looking for local and sustainable ingredients, manufacturers and consumers are looking for environmentally-friendly materials for their metal-based goods. While our society 30 years ago was disposable and embraced “Greed is Good,” today’s consumer wants a reusable product and “Green is Good.” The ultimate goal for Ford, for example, is to create a vehicle with zero emissions in which every part, from the tires to the steering wheel, can be recycled.
The way we see it, the market for scrap metal recycling is good, and the future is shiny – like high-grade aluminum.