The Scrap Metal Recycling Process
We use metal in almost everything nowadays. Cars, aeroplanes, trucks, trains, buildings, infrastructure, they all utilise metal in a big way. Scrap metal recycling is becoming a popular way to save the environment, especially with people having so much scrap metal they didn’t even realise they could sell.
But what exactly does it mean to sell scrap metal for recycling purposes? What procedures does scrap metal go through to be effectively recycled and repurposed in an environmentally friendly and efficient way? Well, today we’ll be going through the steps in the scrap metal recycling process, as well as how it impacts the environment.
When you sell scrap metal, it can come in an almost endless variety of shapes, types, sizes, materials, and so on. Metals are collected from scrapyards and people looking to sell their scrap metal. This is a basic first step, but it is also a crucial one. This is what encourages people to step up and sell scrap metal to be recycled.
After the metals are collected, they’re sorted into recyclable and non-recyclable categories. High-quality metals can only be used in the recycling process, so a rigorous quality check procedure is implemented for the best outcome. If metals of lower quality are used, then the finished product will not be up to the required specs for use.
Processing and Shredding
To ensure the processing phase runs smoothly, the metals are compacted to be the smallest they possibly can be. This is so they can fit on the conveyor belt appropriately. After they’re condensed, they’re shredded. Shredding breaks down the metal into small fragments so they’re easier to melt in the furnace. Less energy and time is used when melting the fragments in comparison to the whole pieces due to the larger surface area to volume ratios.
Large furnaces are used to melt the scrap metal into molten form. Each type of metal has its own dedicated furnace that is heated to the appropriate temperature. The melting process can take either minutes or hours, depending on the volume of metal being melted as well as the type. Whilst this process uses a lot of energy, it still uses considerably less than the energy it’d take to create fresh, new metal from raw materials.
Once melted, the metals must be purified to ensure no imperfections are found. This is so the new metal can be of the highest possible quality and ready for use – as impurities can drastically reduce the metal’s properties. The methods for this vary but electrolysis is a widely used method. This is the electrochemical reaction that happens when you introduce a direct current into it. Once purified, the metals are put into a cooling chamber where they can take physical form with the help of density-increasing chemicals.
If you’re looking to sell scrap metal and have it recycled, then you won’t just be making some extra money on the side, but also be helping the environment as well. Scrap metal recycling has a variety of environmental benefits such as the reduction of greenhouse gasses and littering.
The process of recycling scrap metal creates significantly fewer greenhouse gasses than the process of creating new metals from raw ores and minerals. The Institute of Scrap Metal Industries has stated that in comparison to virgin metal creation, scrap metal recycling cuts greenhouse gas pollution by 300 million to 500 million tonnes per year. Recycled metal is also just as strong as virgin metal, even though it uses notably less energy to create.
To put that into context, if just a single tonne of steel is recycled, then it will save 120 pounds of limestone, 2,500 pounds of iron ore and 1,400 pounds of coal. So not only does it drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also saves on natural raw minerals and resources.
When scrap metal is recycled, it also cuts down on the physical pollution that occurs. Many landfills are riddled with ferrous and non-ferrous metals that could be used for recycling. With scrap metal recycling though, people are encouraged to dispense of their unwanted metal in the appropriate manner.
Looking to sell scrap metal?
Metal Men Recycling is the perfect company when it comes to all your scrap metal recycling needs. We offer business pickup services as well as residential pickup services and will make sure your scrap metal is correctly recycled.