OSC Recycling & Sustainability Service Group

A reflective blog exploring recycling & sustainability initiatives at the Overseas School of Colombo

Now where did I put that pen?!

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The author with recycled metals in Battaramulla

Have you thought about the element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat  lately? Probably not, but metals are important to each and every one of us.(Fry 12). Metals are found all around us, both naturally and mechanically. It’s safe to say that everyday every human being comes in contact with different metals. OSC doesn’t use that much metal in terms of the canteen, with cans and such. But the students themselves are consumers of metal. From the wiring in your kids earphones when they are blasting music, that to you is just noise; to the pen casing you use to sign those checks that go towards your child’s oh so promising future.  We use metals every day, and once they are of no more use, once the pen runs out of ink, and the earphones break because we accidentally sit on them; they are discarded, tossed aside, never to be given a second thought of.

However, this is not the case. If you’re like  the 75% of the world, that pen will end up in a land fill, or some dump or even the “ pacific bowl of soup” you know that “land mass” of trash in the middle of the ocean the size of the United States? If you are NOT like that 75%, you could recycle that pen, bringing it to a recycle center. And before you stop reading this thinking, oh it’s one of those “reduce, re-use, recycle” things that don’t apply to Sri Lanka, I’m here to tell you you’re wrong.

The Grade 11 geography class has been witness to the recycling centers for this finite natural element called metal.  Both the Parliament road recycling center and the pannipitiya road recycling center are metal “halfway” houses. And they collect almost ANYTHING. The parliament road recycling center is a storage space filled to the brim with metal, there are literally car doors hanging from the ceiling! All these metal scraps of Iron, Steel, Tin, Aluminum, and Copper are found in the forms of poles, old machinery, chairs, grills, even car bodies!

Now what is the gathering of all this metal for? What possible positive outcome can collecting rust be? This is where the “re-use and recycle” part of the conservation strategy comes into play with metal. Civilians, take recycling into their own hands and they get rewarded for that. If you bring metal, such as cans from all that soda your kids drink, or parts of that car you totaled when almost being squashed by one of those buses, then this is where you come to!

The metal is weighed on an “old-school” scale, and you are given money in exchange for the amount of metal brought in. The prices per kg of course, alter depending on the metal brought in. Iron goes for 45 rupees, Aluminum for 100 rupees, Copper for 40 rupees and tin for 10 rupees. This is all per kg. All these recycled objects are either broken down into more valuable metals and sold, or sold as they are to whole sale buyers. A common occurrence where metals are “broken down” is when motors are brought in. The motors are welded apart, and the copper coil inside is heated and separated into raw copper coiled, which is then sold to be melted down and used again.

So, next time you are about to think of sending your toaster to the dump, don’t. Take a visit to the recycling centers, who knows, you might get a few rupees out of it, and you know that you are being a more ecologically friendly civilian, and not necessarily adding more “land” to the pacific bowl of soup.

Works Cited

Bourne, Kathleen. “Trash: The Oceans Full of It.” Reduce, Re-use, Recycle. 19 Nov. 2009. Web. 26 Mar. 2012.

Fry, Jason. “Metal: Definition.” Wiki Answers. Wikipedia. Web. 24 Mar. 2012.

Pedal, Maya. “Metal.” Recycling. Maya Pedal Assosciation, 8 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.

Copyright Vera Bednar 2012




Written by recycling1011

2012-05-10 at 7:16 AM

Posted in Guest Articles

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