How long does it take for METAL to DEGRADE? - Know the TIME

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To a greater or lesser extent, most of the materials used to produce products undergo an interaction with the different types of environmental phenomena that exist. These interactions cause the characteristics of the materials to undergo modifications and their properties deteriorate. This means that there is a degradation of the products that are manufactured with said materials.

This article by Ecologist Verde will talk about the decomposition of metal in the environment and also about the degradation time of waste. So, if you want to know how long it takes for metal to decompose, learn about metal contamination and discover which products take the longest to degrade and which ones take the least time, continue reading this interesting article about how long it takes for metal to degrade and more related details.

How long does it take for metal to degrade?

The degradation time of metals It is related both to the amount of material they have and its thickness and also to the environmental conditions in which the metal is found.

On the one hand, for example, those finer metal materials, which are normally used for cans, cans, bottles or aerosols, take approximately up to 30 years to degrade. On the other hand, if you wonder how long does it take for steel to degrade, take note that this can be up to 100 years.

However, the corrosion and degradation of thicker metal, normally used in construction, such as concrete rods or iron beams, have a decomposition time that varies. between 200 and 500 years.

Impact of metal on the environment

Mining and industrial activities release large amounts into the environment toxic metals, such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium or lead, harmful to human health and, in general, to all forms of life. In addition, these end up contaminating the bodies of water, the ground and the atmosphere, since many of them end up suspended in the air because they have been subjected to combustion processes.

Nevertheless, they are not the only ones metals that are a hazard to the environmentThose that are used in construction, in the production of machinery, automobiles, cans, among other products, are also used. If once the useful life of these products ends they are not well managed, that is, if they are not deposited at a recycling point, they will end up in the natural environment and due to their degradation, finally, they become a danger to the environment. environment and its biodiversity.

We recommend you read this other article on Heavy Metal Pollution in Water.

Why it is important to reuse and recycle metal

With reuse and recycling of metals contributes significantly to not worsen the current pollution situation that exists globally. Recycling and reusing reduces the pollution of the air, the soil, the bodies of water and also considerably reduces the generation of waste.

In addition, recycling processes need less electrical energy than those processes that are developed to produce from virgin materials, so it would also be saving energy by recycling and reusing metal.

In this other post you can learn more about the Importance of metal recycling.

How to recycle metal

Among the metals that can be recycled, aluminum and steel are the most common, although there are also others that metals that can be recycled, such as copper, bronze, brass, gold, silver and lead, among others.

On the one hand, steel is one of the metals that has been used since ancient times and that can be recycled. For him steel recycling Large blocks are formed for easier handling, later pressure is exerted on the blocks to cut them into smaller pieces, and separated from other metals. Once we obtain only the steel, it is melted in furnaces and the melted steel is poured into blocks to form ingots or plates that will later be rolled into sheets to be used in other products.

On the other hand, aluminum is 100% recyclable and the objects formed with this material (in general the cans), once discarded, are crushed to crumble them and are melted and later molded into ingots. These ingots are passed through rollers to produce thin aluminum sheets, and in this way you are ready for the manufacture of new products. In this other article we talk about How to recycle aluminum.

Although almost all metals can be recycled, there are also those that cannot, such as those used in toxic products, pipes, hangers and paints, among others.

How long it takes for materials to degrade

Then it will show how long it takes for materials to degrade:

  • Paper or cardboard: the degradation time of the paper is 1 year.
  • Aluminum - Aluminum used for cans takes up to 10 years to decompose.
  • Tetrabrik: containers produced with this material take up to 30 years to degrade.
  • Plastic bags: take between 150 and 300 years to degrade.
  • Batteries: Batteries can take between 500 and 1000 years to degrade.
  • PET Plastic: Typically used for plastic bottles, it takes up to 1,000 years to degrade.
  • Glass: it is one of the materials that takes the longest to degrade, for example, a glass bottle takes about 4,000 years to degrade.

In this list you have been able to see some of the products that take the longest to degrade and some of the least, but here you can learn more about how long it takes for waste to degrade.

If you want to read more articles similar to How long does it take for metal to degrade?, we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category.

  • Redcicla (since 2002). Metal recycling:
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