Edited by Michikazu Kojima and Etsuyo Michida
Chapter 10: From shipbreaking to ship recycling: relocation of recycling sites and the expansion of international involvement
A large ship contains significant quantities of useful metals, especially iron (in the form of steel). Several decades after a ship is launched, its useful life ends and it is scrapped, supplying many tons of recyclable metal. With so much metal and such a long life, the recycling of a ship is more akin to the recycling of an entire building than the recycling of smaller objects with shorter life spans such as home electronics. From the Bronze Age onwards, metal has been recycled as much as possible. Iron is comparatively easy to obtain from ore, but the process requires a blast furnace. Iron is much easier to recover from scrap iron, which has thus become a very important raw material for iron manufacturing processes. Only a few low-income developing countries have blast furnaces today, so these countries depend on recycled scrap iron for all their domestic iron production. Most developing countries do not have sufficient scrap iron from sources such as old buildings and infrastructure, as they lack the prior economic development in which such items would be constructed with iron.
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