If you pay attention to one thing in your life, pay attention to the amount of plastic waste we produce. experts suggest we need to rethink how we buy goods, while we challenge ourselves to buy in bulk and reduce packaging.
But what about the metal we buy and throw away every day? How do we rethink how we recycle metal? As one of the most commonly recycled materials, we need to take a step back and learn how to recycle metal.
In this article, we’ll show you all you need to know about “How Is Metal Recycled?”
Table of Contents
Overview of the Metal Recycling Process
Metal recycling typically involves gathering scrap metal, sorting it into different types, and then selling it to manufacturers who can use it in their production processes.
The recycling process is fairly straightforward and consists of five steps:
1. Collection of Scrap Metal
Once collected, the scrap metal is then sent to processing centers, where it’s sorted and processed into usable scraps. This scrap is then melted and poured into new castings, which can then be used in new products.
This process is more efficient than using new materials, reducing the need for new raw materials and their associated costs.
2. Sorting of Recyclable Metals
The scrap metal is then sorted, separated, and graded according to industry specifications. After the sorting process, scrap metal processing plants collect the recyclable metal.
The scraps are shredded, separated, baled, and sorted once again. After another round of sorting and grading, the recycled metal is ready for reuse.
Shredding machines use powerful magnets and a combination of strong blades and hammers to cut and crush metal materials into small particles. Once shredded, these particles will then be further processed and sorted. Sorting is done usually by hand sorting or a mechanical sorter.
This will separate higher-quality metals from those with low values. And, depending on the metal, it may require additional processing such as smelting and finishing.
The melting process involves heating the scrap metal in a furnace at extreme temperatures to break it down into its component materials. It also helps to rid the metal of any impurities such as paints, coatings, oxide layers, and other materials.
After smelting, the metal is then put through additional processes to refine it into usable commodities. Smelting helps to reduce waste, lessen the impact on the environment, and produce valuable goods out of scrap material. It is a cost-effective and safe method of metal recycling.
Remolding is a technique used to give scrap metal from a recycling plant a new form and purpose. This can involve a variety of techniques such as forging, pressing, machining, and rolling. The new product then undergoes surface finishing as well as additional processes such as heat treating and plating if needed.
Remolding is an environmentally friendly process and has the potential to extend the lifespan of certain products. It also reduces raw material costs and energy consumption during production and reduces the amount of waste.
Different Types of Metals Recycled
There are different kinds of metal that can be recycled. This includes iron, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, lead, zinc, and titanium.
Iron may be the most common metal recycled, used in the production of steel and other alloys. Aluminum is also recycled often, and used in the production of cans, automobiles, and planes. Copper is one of the most valuable metals, used in electrical wiring and plumbing.
Brass, lead, and zinc are all high-demand metals used in various building projects. Titanium is one of the most difficult and expensive metals to recycle. It’s used in aerospace and military applications.
Safety Considerations of Metal Recycling
Safety considerations for metal recycling practices should include the wearing of safety gear such as eye goggles and steel-toed boots, as well as reducing the risk of contact with industrial machinery. Metal recycling techniques also involve flammable gasses and liquids, making it important to ensure that adequate ventilation is in place to help prevent accidents.
Safety personnel should be involved in assessing and monitoring operations to ensure that potential safety risks are assessed and managed appropriately. Social distancing should also be maintained where possible, and it is important to continually evaluate the environment to ensure that it is safe to work in.
The Benefits of Metal Recycling
One of the benefits of recycling is reduced energy costs. This is due to the lower energy needed to process metals compared to raw materials. By reusing existing materials instead of sourcing new, metal recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.
It also conserves natural resources and reduces the number of pollutants and emissions into the atmosphere. Metal recycling creates jobs, helps trade balance, and stimulates economic growth.
Where to Recycle Scrap Metal?
Scrap metal can be recycled in a variety of ways. It is important to educate yourself on where to find reputable scrap metal recycling centers. Most cities and towns throughout the UK offer recycling centers for scrap metal as well as companies specializing in metal recycling. Centers like Rdaviesmetalsandsons.co.uk can collect scrap metal around the West Midlands.
In addition to recycling centers, scrap metal can be donated for reuse or repurposed for projects like sculptures and furniture. Some scrap yards and retailers specialize in buying and selling scrap metal which can also be an avenue for recycling scrap metals.
Non-recyclable metals are ones that cannot be reused, melted down, or otherwise recycled. They may be too toxic or too difficult to handle for a recycling facility. Examples of nonrecyclable metals include cadmium and cobalt, which are commonly found in rechargeable batteries and nuclear waste.
Non-recyclable metals should not be discarded in the trash. They can leach hazardous materials into the environment. Instead, customers who have access to a metals recycling center can have their nonrecyclable metals recycled safely and responsibly.
Now You Know “How Is Metal Recycled?”
Still asking “How Is Metal Recycled?” Metal recycling helps to reduce emissions, conserve natural resources and energy, as well as reduce waste.
Although there are many benefits, we need to be mindful of possible long-term health, safety, and environmental risks associated with the recycling process. Find out how you can help reduce the environmental impact of metal production by joining the recycling movement today.
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