Metal Recycling

Metals are valuable materials that can be recycled over and over again without degrading their properties. Scrap metal has value,that’s the reason people collect it and sell it for recycling operations.

In addition to a financial incentive, there is also an environmental imperative. The recycling of metals enables us to preserve natural resources while requiring less energy to process than the manufacture of new products using virgin raw materials. Recycling emits less carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses. More importantly, it saves money and allows manufacturing businesses to reduce their production cost.

Some interesting facts about Metal Recycling:

  • Nearly 40% of worldwide steel production is made using recycled steel.
  • Around 42% of crude steel in the United States is made of recycled materials.
  • In the United States alone, around 100 million steel and tin cans are used every day.
  • Steel and iron are the most recycled materials in the world due in part to the opportunity to recover large structures as well as the ease of reprocessing. The use of magnets in the sorting process enables recyclers to easily separate them from the materials.
  • Every year, around 400 million tons of metal is recycled worldwide.
  • Currently, the single most recycled consumer product in the U.S. is aluminium cans.
  • Throwing away a single aluminium can waste energy equivalent to the same can filled with gasoline.

    Metal Recycling Process

    • 1. Collection 

      The collection process for metals differs than that for other materials because of higher scrap value. As such, it is more likely to be sold to scrap yards than sent to the landfill. The largest source of scrap ferrous metal in the U.S. is from scrap vehicles.

      Other sources include large steel structures, railroad tracks, ships, farm equipment, and of course, consumer scrap. Prompt scrap, which is created in the course of new product manufacturing, accounts for one-half of ferrous scrap supply.

    • 2. Sorting 

      Sorting involves separating metals from the mixed scrap metal stream or the mixed multi-material waste stream. In automated recycling operations, magnets and sensors are used to aid in material separation.

      At the entrepreneurial level, scrappers may employ a magnet, as well as to observe the material colour or weight to help determine the metal type. For example, aluminium will be silver and light. Other important colours to look for are copper, yellow (for brass) and red, for red brass. Scrappers will improve the value of their material by segregating clean metal from the dirty material.

    • 3. Processing

      To allow further processing, metals are shredded. Shredding is done to promote the melting process as small shredded metals have a large surface to volume ratio. As a result, they can be melted using comparatively less energy. Normally, aluminium is converted into small sheets, and steel is changed into steel blocks.

    • 4. Melting 

      Scrap metal is melted in a large furnace. Each metal is taken to a specific furnace designed to melt that particular metal. A considerable amount of energy is used in this step.Still, as mentioned above, the energy required to melt and recycle metals is much less than the energy that is needed to produce metals using virgin raw materials. Based on the size of the furnace, the degree of heat of the furnace and volume of metal, melting can take from just a few minutes to hours.

    • 5. Purification 

      Purification is done to ensure the final product is of high quality and free of contaminants. One of the most common methods used for purification is Electrolysis.

    • 6. Solidifying 

      After purification, melted metals are carried by the conveyor belt to cool and solidify the metals. In this stage, scrap metals are formed into specific shapes such as bars that can be easily used for the production of various metal products.

    • 7. Transportation of the Metal Bars 

      Once the metals are cooled and solidified, they are ready to use. They are then transported to various factories where they are used as raw material for the production of brand new products.When the products made of these metal bars come to the end of their useful life, the metal recycling process cycles again.

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