Scrap Recycling 101: How 3 Common Metals Are Recycled and Repurposed

By AWD Digital

So by now you know how to find scrap metal around your home and office, but what happens once you pass it on to the scrap dealers? Here is what happens to three common metals once you sell it on to us.


Aluminium is one of the most energy intensive metals to produce as it has to be separated from other elements (namely oxygen) in a smelter before it can be used.  Because recycling aluminium cuts out this smelting process, it saves an enormous amount of energy. The amount of aluminium cans recycled in the US every year (around 60.2 billion cans) saves around 11.5 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity which is enough to light a city of 300,000 people for 6 years. When aluminium is recycled, it gets shredded down into popcorn sized chips and then melted and poured into rectangular slabs which are then processed into thin sheets. The majority of recycled aluminium becomes cans (this is known as closed loop recycling as the recycled product is turned into the same thing again). An aluminium can recycled today will be back on supermarket shelves as a new product in about 90 days.


Like aluminium, steel is an iron ore product which demands a great deal of energy to create and is 100% recyclable. Recycling steel uses 75% less energy than it takes to make primary steel so there is some recycled material in almost every steel product on the market. There is a good chance that your new bike, the cans you bought from the supermarket, and the paper clips on your desk all contain some recycled steel. Recycling steel involves passing magnets over scrap to separate the steel from other metals, melting it down, and then pouring it into casters which roll and flatten it out into sheets.


Throughout history, copper has been considered a precious metal much like gold and silver, and it has always been recycled.  In fact, prior to the American Revolution, all copper and alloy products made in America were made from recycled materials, as England mandated that all copper ore mined in the Americas be repatriated for processing. Clean, unalloyed and uncoated copper is melted down, deoxidised and sometimes further purified before being cast into ingots. This pure copper is used in fine electrical wiring as it retains its high conductivity and consistent annealability. Copper which has been oxidised, plated or coated generally undergoes electrolytic refining to reach the desired level of purity. This copper tends to be used in thicker electrical wiring, plumbing tube, heat exchangers and roofing sheet.

Metal Men Recycling are established scrap metal buyers based in Melbourne. We offer cash for your scrap. Give us a call on 03 5941 6677 today.

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Find us at: 18 Drovers Place, Pakenham VIC 3810