Lead Recycling 101

By Adam Ioannidis

When people look to sell scrap metal, they often ask what the deal is with heavy metals and toxicity? Well, as we’ve mentioned, no single heavy metal is the same as they all have their own quirks and properties. Lead, however, is actually a highly recyclable heavy metal. This is why we’re going to be spending today’s blog looking a bit closer at the properties of. Welcome to lead recycling 101, class.

The fundamentals of lead

Lead is a naturally abundant metal and has been used by humans since ancient times. It’s even sometimes referred to as “the first metal” – even though other metals such as gold and silver were used around the same times. It was actually used in everyday items from the time of the Romans up until the 19th century when its high toxicity was discovered. It is considered a transitional metal and has an atomic number of 82 – which is the highest atomic number a stable element can have.

It’s poisonous

Lead is a dangerous and highly toxic metal. It affects the central nervous system and replaces other chemicals and metals in your body which can interfere with certain genes. Babies and children are particularly susceptible to its effects as it can inhibit growth. It’s also a cumulative poison – and seeing as there’s no defined safe exposure level, things can get pretty serious if you’re constantly exposed in even small doses.

It’s highly recyclable

Lead is essentially 100% recyclable. Not only that, but it doesn’t lose any of its properties when it is recycled, making its demand and value highly desirable. The majority of lead that is recycled comes from batteries. In fact, 99% of lead batteries are recycled in the U.S – making them the most recycled consumer product in the country.

In addition to batteries, lead sheets are commonly used in radiation shields in the healthcare industry (just think about how Superman can’t use his ­x-ray vision to see through lead-lined objects – same sort of thing).

Not only does recycling lead conserve natural resources – but it also drastically reduces the amount of lead that is released into the environment, as the alternative is lead-products being dumped into a landfill. If this occurs, then the lead could contaminate groundwater. People who’re looking to sell scrap metal such as lead should strive to do so instead of throwing them out.

In terms of energy, recycling lead uses 35 – 40% less energy than what’s used in the process of obtaining virgin lead making it highly efficient. Approximately 90% of scrap lead in Australia comes from lead-acid batteries that are found in petrol and diesel vehicles.

The recycling process

The recycling process for lead is not unlike other metal recycling processes. Lead-based products are broken up at the smelter and the lead is separated from the rest of the components where they are then smelted and refined. The refined lead is then used in the production of new materials.

Lead can also be formed into ingots which – depending on what they’re going to be used for next – can vary in purity, size, weight and quantity. The fact that it can be recycled infinitely is another reason why it’s so desirable. If you’re looking to sell scrap metal and have an old car battery, for example, then we highly recommend that you bring it in to be recycled.

Are you looking to sell scrap metal in Melbourne?

Whether it’s lead-based products or just pieces of aluminium in your backyard – copper wiring or an old car motor – Metal Men Recycling will pay you for your scrap metal. Our titan facility is equipped with all the bells and whistles to efficiently and safely recycle scrap metal to be repurposed in other industries.

We offer free bins that come in several sizes to suit your needs – whether it’s for your home or business. We’ll even pick the bins up whenever you’re done! The weighted bridges at our facility can help you determine the exact weight of your scrap metal to make your job easier when you come to us.

So, if you’re looking to sell scrap metal – or would like to know a little bit more about our services – then please give us a call on 03 5941 6677. You may also contact us via the enquiry form found on our website.

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Find us at: 18 Drovers Place, Pakenham VIC 3810