Should I Recycle Titanium, And Why?
Titanium is a strong material that does not corrode, is light, and bends without breaking. Because of this, titanium is the perfect raw material for many products, like airplane parts, missiles, spacecraft, and even military defense armor. Titanium is a critical metal in the aircraft industry because of its strength and flexibility. However, it is also is used in the hulls of ships, bicycle frames and in the chemicals industry. Titanium even connects well with bone, so it is often used in dental implants and prostheses. Titanium dioxide, the material that is used to refine titanium metal, is used in paints, sunscreens, and kinds of toothpaste as a whitener.
However, it is not always easy, or even affordable, to purchase titanium or find a cost-effective way to recycle scraps of titanium. Many countries look to the U.S. to purchase titanium or to recycle the scraps they have.
Some companies are looking to solve the supply and recycling problem by using advanced technology and high heat to recycle these scraps. This new technology uses vacuum furnaces to heat the titanium, rather than melting it, which helps prevent pollution.
Additionally, recycling titanium helps reduce emissions because recycling the material uses much less energy than refining titanium ore to come up with raw material. Titanium is very valuable, and by recycling titanium scraps, it is possible to improve the supply. While titanium is not rare, it is expensive because it is so difficult, and costly, to refine. In fact, it costs nearly six times more to produce titanium than it does to produce steel. The titanium produced via these new recycling measures will be aviation-grade and cheaper than new titanium.
Reasons to Recycle Titanium
As stated above, there are several benefits to recycling titanium. These new recycling measures will help the metals industry reduce its consumption of primary titanium iron ore as titanium will be more plentiful, affordable, and readily available. It takes less energy to recycle titanium than to turn raw materials into titanium ore, again providing cost savings.
When other countries begin to recycle their own titanium, it allows them to be more independent. Plus, recycling titanium contributes to the circular economy by recycling an important metal and distributing it back into the manufacturing process, rather than throwing it away. In fact, as much as 90 percent of titanium used today actually gets scrapped. Recycling will help reuse those scraps. And of course, it helps reduce the world’s carbon footprint, putting less pollution into the air.
Another thing to consider is the fact that these new titanium recycling plants will create jobs. Most plants will need at least 60 employees; each plant could produce thousands of tons of titanium alloy each year.
So, should you recycle titanium? Absolutely. Titanium recycling uses new technology to create jobs, reduce waste and pollution, reduce the cost of the materials, and help improve the circular economy, allowing more countries to be independent in their production of this important raw material.