Test Your Knowledge on comparing production of metals with recycling of metals

Have you just done a science lesson comparing the environmental impact of the production of metals with the recycling of metals? Complete this assessment quiz to test your knowledge!

What is a Circular Economy?

All of these describe a Circular Economy.
From Wikpedia: A circular economy (often referred to simply as "circularity") is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources.

What is a Carbon Footprint?
Officially: A measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources, sinks and storage within the spatial and temporal boundary of the population, system or activity of interest.
What is the name given to an analysis of a product's entire environmental impact over the course of its entire production up until its disposal?
Life cycle analysis is an investigation into the environmental impacts of the process of creating something right from the start, where the raw materials of the product are mined from the ground through to its disposal – this is called cradle to grave.
Which sector had the highest emissions of greenhouse gases in 2016?

Globally the emissions were highest in the Energy sector (including energy use in industry) with 73.2% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

What proportion of the global emissions of greenhouse gases did the iron and steel indutries contribute in 2016?
The iron and steel industry contributed to 7.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.
What is the main method of transporting bauxite or aluminium oxide from where it is made to where it is processed?
Most bauxite and aluminium oxide is transported around the world in huge container ships.
In terms of tons per mile which is the least polluting way of transporting heavy materials around the world?

Sea freight is best for heavy goods.

Which process (of steel & aluminium processing and recycling) is least polluting and most cost effective?
Aluminium Recycling is cost effective and least polluting as it is the more valuable material and travels the furthest when made from bauxite ore. The process of making aluminium from scratch requires a huge amount of energy as the solution must be heated to well over 750°C so that the molten aluminium can be removed. But steel requires temperatures of around 1200°C, so requires more energy. It is also less valuable, so less cost effective to recycle compared to aluminium.
What process do you think is better than mining aluminium from the ground and then extracting the aluminium through electrolysis?
Recycling uses much less energy as the bauxite does not have to be mined and processed. It emits far less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and so is contributing less to climate change. It also encourages resource efficiency and the circular economy, meaning we are being more sustainable if we recycle.
Has this lesson made you aware of the energy cost and climate change implications of aluminium and steel production?
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