Scrap Metal Recycling

Scrap Metal Recycling – What You Should Know?

We use various metals like aluminum, copper, and stainless steel in our daily lives. We can find metals in the structures we live and work in into the gadgets we use and the soda cans we drink. Yet, there is a significant risk that metal-containing products will end up in landfills. However, metals can be reused indefinitely, making them more environmentally friendly. How does metal recycling work? Continue reading to find out.

Scrap Metal Recycling: What Is It?

Scrap metal recycling is the collection, processing, melting of recyclable metals. After the process, they can be used as raw materials to manufacture new commodities.

The procedure applies to any metal. Some common ones include an old laptop, a car’s chassis, an old washing machine, refrigerator.

Why should you think about recycling?

There are various reasons to recycle scrap metal:

  • Brings more cash
  • Keeps hazardous waste out of landfills
  • Saves energy
  • Saves businesses money
  • Creates jobs

Types of metals for recycling

Scrap metals are classified into two parts: ferrous metals & non-ferrous metals.

1. Scrap ferrous metal

Iron-containing metals are known as ferrous metals. Steel is a kind of ferrous metal, and it is the most recycled metal on the planet. The reason is large structures and huge transport vehicles contain a lot of steel. The EPA’s ferrous metal recycling rates are 27.8% (from durable products). It is 60.3 percent (of all components in appliances).

Ferrous metals are also used to make the following items:

  • Construction and building materials: I beam, rebar, ductwork, and electrical cable
  • Transport parts: Cars, railroad debris, drums, rotors, and motor blocks
  • Packaging and containers

2. Scrap non-ferrous metal

Aluminum, brass, nickel, copper, zinc, and tin are non-ferrous metals that do not contain iron. Especially, aluminum is appealing to recyclers because it does not decay throughout the recycling process. Furthermore, it allows multiple processing. According to the EPA, recycling rates for aluminum are at 16.2 percent. It is 66.1 percent for other non-ferrous metals.

Metals That Are Not Recyclable

Unfortunately, not all scrap metals are recycled. Some hazardous metals cannot be recycled.

  • Mercury
  • Radioactive metals like plutonium and uranium.

On the other hand, some metal objects are not accepted by scrap yards, usually due to liability concerns.

What is the process of recycling scrap metal?

End-of-life electronics, machinery, and other metal-based objects undergo the following process.

Collecting scrap metal:

The actual gathering of scrap is perhaps the most critical phase. Scrap yards usually receive it from several sources. The recycling yards can get it from people dropping off their metal equipment, electronics, or appliances.

Metal sorting

Most recycling facilities include automated systems that sort different metals using magnets and other sensors. Separate stacks of aluminum, stainless steel, brass, copper, and other metals would result.


Metals are processed to certain sizes and forms to make the melting process more efficient. Scrap metal is custom-made for each customer. the scrapyard already knows what compositions, forms, and weights of metals they require. Depending on the end purpose, scrap metal can be treated in various methods, including shredding, torching, and baling.


The technique for melting down scrap metal varies depending on the metal and the amount of purity required. Impurities ascend to the top of melted metals, where they can be segregated from the leftover metal. Some metals undergo further refinement. It includes electrolysis to produce something as close to the primary or fresh metal.


Molten metal is altered as it solidifies after being cleaned of pollutants. It can come in various shapes and sizes, and plants specialize in their product types. Bars, wire, coils, and sheets are some examples. Chemicals are sometimes added to metals to make them denser or change their characteristics.

The metal is ready to use after the solidifying cycle is completed.

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