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What Happens to Recycled Metal?

In Europe, metal packaging from drink cans and beverages has a recycling rate of between 75% and 85%. Targets for this are set to increase it even further, making the recycling of metals a huge issue for business. But is your organization on target to help?

Recycling has a number of benefits for businesses, both financial and environmental. Read on as we discuss recycled metal and why you need it in your organization.

Why Do We Recycle?

Recycling has two main purposes. These are financial and environmental.

In the first instance, new metals are extremely valuable and the cost of them is rising. Older metals can be reused over again without any degradation to their natural properties. Thus, the process of recycling scrap metal is one with value.

Secondly, it helps reduce the environmental impact. Mining for metals can have a huge impact on the environment, and its transportation can have a large carbon footprint. Recycling uses less energy than that required to mine new raw materials.

Finally, it saves money. Recycled materials are more cost-effective for companies.

Metal Recycling Process

Despite being seemingly simple, there are a number of stages in the metal recycling process. This will begin when the metal leaves your home or business.

Collection and Drop Off

There are numerous ways that scrap metal can be collected and dropped off at the scrap metal recycling plant. This could include collections from old buildings, railways and industrial equipment. Scrap metal can also come from many different consumer goods.

Scrap yards are, however, the biggest source of metal. This is where your car goes once it reaches the end of its lifespan. There are a number of metals within the car, making them extremely valuable and prized for recycling purposes.

Sorting Process

The sorting process is where the metals are separated into two lines: mixed scrap metal and multi-material. Clean metal will also be separated from dirty metal to increase its value when it arrives.

Much of the sorting is done using magnets and sensors. People will also look at the metals to determine what they are, their weight and their value.

Once complete, materials will be shredded. This makes them easier to melt in the next process.

 

Picking station

Smelting

The smelting process involves heating the metals by applying extremely high temperatures. This is the part in the process when the most energy gets used. It often takes thousands of degrees to melt the metal.

The time this takes could depend on the size of the furnace and the amount melted. However, the energy is still much less than it would take to create new materials. The process may take a few minutes to a few hours.

Metals are then purified to rid them of any contaminants. There are many ways to do this depending on the metal.

Moulding

Once the scrap metal is fully melted, it is formed into shapes for safe transportation later. These are often ingot sized blocks, but this can vary. They will then travel down the conveyor belt to cool in the moulds, and then be tipped out when solid again.

New Life

Once solid, the bars are transported to other factories and plants. Here, they will enter production lines, get melted once more and formed into new products and appliances. Once these reach the end of their life, the process will begin all over again.

Reasons for Metal Recycling

As well as finance and environmental impacts, there are a number of other beneficial reasons for recycling. The most important ones are listed below.

Meet Recycling Standards

The environment is a huge concern for consumers and businesses. As such, the recycling industry is rising to meet the challenge. Companies should recycle whenever they can, particularly companies that have lots of scrap metal waste.

Anyone with scrap metals lying around on site should recycle for a number of reasons. Firstly, it tidies up the site. Secondly, it reduces the risk of theft and break-ins.

Provides Jobs

Recycling processing, its collection and transportation create a lot of jobs. In fact, it is estimated that as the industry increases, it could create 10,000 jobs in the UK alone. Taking part in this process shows that your organization supports and cares for local industry and the economy.

Cut Costs

Recycling is cheaper than buying new materials and offers a huge financial incentive for companies—be it selling unused metal for scrap or purchasing recycled metal to use in products. By creating an effective waste stream, you can use everything you have paid for, reducing operating costs even further.

Brand Awareness

Consumers are looking at how businesses operate and function even more than before. Part of this is their commitment to the environment. Being a company that uses recycling can give you a huge competitive advantage over those that do not.

By reaching targets such as zero to landfill and reducing your Co2 emissions, you have a steadfast testimonial. You have shown commitment to the world around you, making people much more likely to do business with your organization.

Residential Recycling

You don’t have to be a business to recycle metal. In fact, you can even begin to do it at home yourself. All you need is a keen eye and a magnet.

 

recycled metal
Recycled metal

 

 

If the magnet sticks to your scrap metal, then you have a ferrous product. It will be a steel or iron metal. It won’t be worth much but will get recycled properly if you take it to a plant.

When it does not stick, then you will have a non-ferrous metal. These include copper, aluminium, brass and stainless steel. They tend to be worth more money.

Recycled Metal

Now you know the importance of recycled metal, it is time to set up your own process. Designate a method for the sorting and storage of scrap in your facility. After this, arrange a method in which you can have the metal collected and recycled.

For plant and recycling owners, Anis-Trend should be your go-to solution for bailing, presses and conveyors. Our scrap presses provide an excellent and essential compression of sheets metals. Contact us here to discuss your needs, and utilise Anis Trend equipment in your plant.