Why people recycle metal scrap? Firstly and the most important it helps to avoid producing metal from ore. When steel mills use metal scrap as raw material they save energy consumption greatly and decrease usage of subsoil resources. So, metal scrap is very useful material and companies that are engaged in collecting it are very important in our times.
But how does the process of metal scrap recycling take place in real?
In order to understand it we must have a look at the process of work of an ordinary scrap collecting yard.
Metal, unlike secondary glass, paper and other raw materials, can be used almost indefinitely, as it does not lose its technical properties. Recycling of metal scrap metal is a valuable and technically complex process, involving several main stages:
- Collecting metal scrap. Companies collect and transport metal scrap from households, enterprises, factories and plants by means of special transport and lifting equipment such as crane-manipulators with grapples, mobile balers and shears, scrap transport special vehicles, etc
- Sorting. After the metal scrap has been delivered to scrap yard, it should be sorted, firstly into ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap, because these two sorts cannot be melted together. After that the scrap is baled and transported to steel mills. During this stage companies are using a great variety of metal scrap recycling, baling and sorting equipment such metal balers, shears, shredders, granulators, crushers, strippers, etc. The more equipment is used to recycle and sort the scrap, the higher prices can be received from steel mills for such raw material. Sometimes scrap collecting yards send prepared scrap for export to international steel mills or sell it to port authorities. In some countries there is a shortage of metal scrap.
- Metal scrap melting. This stage is performed in steel mills at special furnaces that ensure different temperature for each type of scrap. Usually, blast furnaces use bales, and electric arc furnaces use shredded scrap. Electric arc furnaces are modern and energy saving equipment.
- Cooling. Melted raw material is supplied into special moulds where it is cooling down and turning into ingots. Such cold ingots are the material for further processing.
Prices for metal recyclable scrap depend on the purity of the metal, its quantity, size and market demand. Scrap of non-ferrous metals is more expensive than ferrous metal scrap. The cost of scrap is reduced if additional processing is required or the metal has some impurities. Different companies buy the same kind of metal scrap at different prices, since most of the costs for scrap metal depend upon its delivery to the steel mill: the farther the mill is the lower purchase price gets.
Ferrous metal scrap recycling
Recycle of ferrous metal scrap begins with sorting it into:
- Metal (shavings, household scrap);
- Stainless steel;
- Pig iron scrap.
These metals can be found in production waste, in bridge structures, in construction, often found in household appliances and mechanisms: car parts, electric kettles, and bathtubs. The main difference of ferrous metals lies in the magnetic characteristics and susceptibility to corrosion.
Non-ferrous metal scrap recycling
Recycling of non-ferrous scrap is a rather complicated process. The technology of recycling color scrap is carried out for each metal separately. Among the non-ferrous metals, the most popular are products with expired lifetime or defective products from:
- aluminum (old dishes, gutters, cans for drinks, construction profiles);
- copper (water utensils, wires, roofing materials);
- lead (car batteries);
- bronze (monuments, fences);
- brass (keys, plumbing, door handles, radiators).
Car batteries containing a lot of lead are most often recycled. It can easily be recycled and successfully used for further purposes. The old equipment, household appliances and industrial waste are not just garbage; they can cost quite a lot of money!
Sell your metal scrap and it can bring benefit to many people in future.