(This blog post is the second in a new series we will be writing here at Hipcycle on the materials that go into our products. You can read the first entry on glass, here.)
In 1987, if you would have told me I’d be writing about “metal,” I would have thought you meant Dokken, Alice in Chains, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi… and let’s not forget the ultra favorite, Poison (oh, how I love thee, Bret Michaels). I would have written about how much I loved the aggressive riffs coming from electric guitars and how the powerful drums and bass gave me butterflies. At 16, I had a lot to prove in Small Town, Alabama. (Can you see the attitude in this pic?)
Now, let's fast forward 25 years ...
It’s 2012 and I still have something to prove. But, this time, it’s heavy metal coming from the Earth, not from the hair bands of the 80’s. This time it’s a global issue, not a personal one.
According to one of our favorite online sources (Wikipedia) metal is a usually malleable element, compound or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Ranging from precious metals to base metals to noble and ferrous metals, the “metal” category occupies the bulk of the periodic table.
Because of its strength and durability, the nature of metal has fascinated mankind for many centuries, particularly during the early 20th century when the variety of metals (and things created from them) increased with the onset of economic growth. Certain metals possess a high structural strength and are used in the construction of buildings, bridges, appliances, automobiles, signs, railroad tracks and more.
Metals come from the earth. Ore is extracted by means of mining, and then through a variety of processing techniques, is converted into raw metals. The awesome thing about metal is that it’s inherently recyclable – so can be used over and over again, therefore minimizing the impact on our environment. The only problem is that levels of recycling are generally low.
According to a report by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the increase of metal use in the 20th century has significantly affected below ground stocks and is creating a shift toward above ground mines, called Urban Mining. The report authors observed that the metal stocks in society could serve as huge mines above ground. However, they warned that the recycling rates of some rare metals used in applications such as mobile phones, battery packs for hybrid cars and fuel cells are so low that unless future end-of-life recycling rates are dramatically stepped up these critical metals will become unavailable for use in modern technology.
While we can't fix the global problem of low recycling rates of metal and the possible 'extinction' of rare metal, we are happy to work with upcycling artisans that are crafting beautiful, durable items for you and your home. We are working toward offsetting metal "waste" and to raising consumer awareness of the amazing products available from that waste.
Some of the upcycled metals used in our products are road signs, business signs, drain pipes, bike parts, reclaimed washers, aluminum foil, tin roofs, discarded railroad parts, bottle caps and so much more. Check out our website as we are constantly adding new products and materials.
I'm happy to say that the evolution of this metal-head went from hair bands to upcycled products. I hope you, too, can make the transformation.... even if you didn't have embarrassing big hair pictures from the '80's!
Susan is Goddess of Marketing at Hipcycle and has a more manageable hair size now. She spends her weekends chasing after two active boys, sifting through her husband's garage sale finds and attempting to work on upcycling projects of her own.