Metals are recycled because they are valued and because most of them share the inherent quality of recyclability. This is especially true of non-ferrous metals, a group that includes nickel.
Because metals are valued, an infrastructure for gathering and processing them exists. While society is more likely to see metal recycling today as an environmental activity, metal recycling has existed for thousands of years as a profitable economic activity. In most countries, the economics of gathering, sorting, preparing, transporting and using scrap metal employs more people and is of greater economic importance than the mining and refining of ores.
Nickel is amongst the most valuable of the common non-ferrous metals (e.g., aluminium, copper, zinc, lead). It follows that the commercial motivation for using it effectively in the first place is very strong: to use nickel inefficiently is wasteful of money and resources. Similarly, the incentive for recovering and recycling nickel effectively at all stages of the fabrication and use cycle is also very strong.