This gun used to shoot things into space.

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It can seem that the world is quite absurd when you see it from the retail end-user consumer perspective but if you look at the overall systems which the pedestrians like you and me are not allowed to participate in it’s actually all fairly reasonable and practical.

For certain grades of steel, recycling isn’t effective. One of the reasons that new cars are safer than older cars is that the quality of the steel had gone up over time. High quality steels require very specific quality control measures which aren’t suited to recycling.

But steel is recycled more so than any other material on the planet. People are highly effective at recycling steel. One of the major uses of recycled steel is architural beams for high-rise buildings. This structural steel is almost exclusively made of recycled cars and it’s cheap stuff on the wholesale level precisely because it is recycled. That’s why China, a technically poor country, can afford to build highrise buildings that seem outrageously luxurious to Americans living in stick-framed suburban homes. The trick is that the steel they are using is really cheap because it’s recycled American cars.

So the steel in that gun is no big waste. Recycled steel isn’t worth much really and for many new products recycled steel is not a practical solution anyway so mining has to continue regardless which simply reinforces the fact that recycled steel will remain a low cost item since there is an indefinite supply.

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