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Recycling Metals: 5 Simple Steps

Did you know that recycling metals is an excellent way of purifying the air we breathe? Metal is one of the numerous materials that we use all the time.

We need it to drive our car for errands, or the train we catch to the office is also made of metal. Take a look at the device you are reading this article on. How many metals do you think your phone or computer is made of?

Even just using recycled steel can reduce air pollution by nearly 90%. Here are the 5 simple recycling tips that will make you appreciate different kinds of metal.

Why Is Recycling Metals Important?

If we do not recycle metals, we will have aluminium and tin cans lying around for several decades. This is because a tin can will take up to 50 years to decompose, especially since it is made of a flimsier metal.

Aluminium can lie around for even longer. It can take up to 500 years to decompose, which is why we go out of our way to recycle cans and other metals.

Steel is the world’s most recycled material. It can be recycled infinitely without deteriorating. It also takes 60% less energy to recycle than manufacturing new virgin steel from iron ore.

Therefore, nearly every steel product on the market should contain at least some recycled bits. You can also save a ton of raw material by scrapping your car.

Giving it to the scrapyard instead of throwing it away can help save a lot of limestones, coal, and iron ore. You can easily save nearly two tons of raw material, which is why recycling different kinds of metal are essential.


Recycling Metals


The majority of your car battery is also recyclable. But most batteries are never recovered. This becomes a problem because they all end up in landfills and release a lot of pollutants that jeopardize human health and the environment.

Metals are versatile and essential because they can be used in many ways. For instance, you can use metals for industrial purposes in railways, airplanes, ships, trucks, and cars.

You can also use metals for packaging, crockery, and cutlery. The best part about recycling metals is that you can do so without altering their properties. The most common metals that get recycled are steel and aluminium.

Then you can avoid causing a waste disposal crisis if you follow this metal recycling guide.

The Process

Metal recycling is an exciting process because the metals are initially sorted based on their properties. Therefore, it is necessary to have good knowledge of metals. Then you can recycle them safely while maintaining a green environment.

1. Collection

The first step in the recycling process is collection. It is also the most crucial step. It involves collecting everything that is made of metal. However, this needs to be done in a very organized way.

It would help if you had containers specifically designed to hold metals. Many businesses have scrap yards where people can take metals and get paid for what they collect.

2. Sorting

The next step is sorting the metals you have collected. This can involve separating things that are non-recyclable and recyclable.

The quality of metals recycled is also crucial because a high-quality recycled product can only be created if suitable quality metals are used during the sorting process.

Remember that the general rule is that a product needs to be at least 50% metal. So, even if you have a piece of metal surrounded by bits of plastic, you should still recycle it because most of the item is still made of solid metal.

Even if you have products that have a small amount of metal, you can still remove the non-metal bits while recycling. For example, even though a plastic binder with rings is not considered scrap metal, you can still remove the metal rings to use them in another way.

Scrap metal needs to be classified as ferrous or nonferrous. Ferrous metals contain iron, while nonferrous refers to everything else.

The best way to identify ferrous and nonferrous metals is by using a magnet. This is because nonferrous metals are not easily pulled out of the waste stream.

3. Processing

After the previous step, your next job is to squeeze and compact the metal. This is where all your recycled materials will be squashed and squeezed with machinery. Then they will only take up a little space in the conveyor belts.

4. Shredding

You need to begin the shredding process when you are done breaking and crushing all your recyclable metal. This is where your metals will be broken down into sheets or small pieces for further processing.

The smaller pieces will then have a large surface-to-volume ratio. This will be melted with less energy compared to dealing with bigger pieces of metal. For instance, steel is typically changed into steel blocks, and aluminium gets converted to recycled sheets.

5. Purification and Melting

The next step is to melt the metals. Melting scrap metal happens using a large furnace. This is where every bit of metal is taken to a place specially designed to melt everything based on the metal’s specific properties. This process takes up a considerable amount of energy.

The furnace is then heated to the appropriate temperature that can melt the metal, which can take a few hours or minutes, depending on your type of furnace. Then it would help if you thought about purification.

This is where metals are purified to ensure that the final product does not have any impurities to ensure that you always get the highest quality. The primary process of purification is through electrolysis.

Finally, the molten metal is carried through a conveyor belt to a cooling chamber where it is solidified.

At this stage, your scrap metal will be turned into a solid block that can be used again. Some other chemicals might also be added to the molten metal to give it some added density.

Recycle Metals the Right Way

Now that you know the 5 steps for recycling metals, it is time to start the collection and sorting process to kick things off. Remember that many people disregard the need to recycle solid waste, especially metals.


Light metal baler


Therefore, many people throw them away while leaving metals to rot. Now that you understand the many benefits of recycling, you will never throw them away or leave them to rust.

Contact us today, and we can provide the best solutions for your recycling needs at our centre.