Theme 1: Reuse without melting

reuse 2 150x150

Using recycled scrap makes a significant contribution to reducing manufacturing emissions, but melting is still energy-intensive. This ‘scrap’ metal has value due to the energy and money invested in making it which is wasted as soon as it is melted.

Can we reuse metal without melting?


Conserving our metal energy Conserving our metal energy [pdf 5.3MB]

Working Papers

See Publications

  1. W1 Cullen J (2010) Steel and aluminium facts [pdf 247KB]
  2. W2 Milford R (2010) Design for future re-use [pdf 150KB]
  3. W3 Milford R (2010) Scrap re-use potential and emissions savings [pdf 542KB]
  4. W4 Patel A (2010) Strengthening the business case [pdf 2.6MB]
  5. W5 Cooper D (2010) Solid bonding of aerospace and packaging aluminium scrap [pdf 5.5MB] – Being updated
  6. W6 Cooper D (2010) Steel and aluminium products [pdf 1.0MB]
  7. W7 Cooper D (2010) Novel joining techniques to promote deconstruction of buildings [pdf 810kB]
  8. W8 Milford R (2010) Emission savings from case studies [pdf 534KB]

Reuse today

Opportunities exist today for reuse of structural steel in new buildings, blanking waste by cascading to smaller products, and aluminium scrap by the solid bonding process. UK companies already exploit reuse of structural steel and blanking waste on a small scale, with their volume limited by available supply.

Design for Future Reuse

To reach the full potential of reuse, products must be designed for adaptability, easy repair and deconstruction, and traceability. If all products were designed to for maximum future reuse, approximately 75% of steel scrap and 50% of aluminium scrap could be reused without melting.

Emissions Savings

Significant emissions savings are possible by avoiding energy intensive melting and re-processing steps.; analysis of several case studies showed the following emissions savings assuming that new metal was displaced:

Estimated emissions savings for reuse without melting case studies

Estimated emissions savings for reuse without melting case studies

Strengthening the Business Case

By revision of existing legislation, standards and procurement, government can play a significant role in increasing demand and availability of reused metal. Support for developing infrastructure that assists in the sorting and processing of scrap would particularly help in increasing supply.

Actions and Opportunities

Having shown the technical and economic feasibility for reuse and its environmental benefits, WellMet2050 will continue to work on recommending changes in waste strategy and certification, and on developing the solid bonding technology for commercial application.

Photo credits:  Arlington County