It is very possible for metals to be recycled repeatedly without altering their properties. According to research done over the years, steel has been found to be the most recycled metal in the world, followed by other metals such as brass, copper, silver, gold, and aluminum.
Reasons for metal scrap recycling
It often seems easier throwing away unwanted cans, cartons, and paper products other than recycling them. However, if you as an individual understands deeply the benefits recycling could bring to you, you would find that there are different reasons why metal is recycled. Such reasons are given in this piece.
• Preserving resources. This is actually the main reason to do recycling. Not only would you be playing a part in the reduction of natural resources being used, but you would also reduce the number of natural resources that you would require in your home. By recycling, you would require fewer bin bags in your home and thus ultimately be helping out the environment.
• Managing energy consumption. More metal scrap recycling means that there is less demand for natural resources such as the metal ore. By practicing metal scrap recycling, we could ultimately save an average of up to 90% of the energy used in pure metal mining. This is in regards to aluminum,90% of the energy used in the mining and creation of copper, and save up to 5% of the energy used to mine and create steel.
• Economic development. Metals scrap recycling would mean that governments ultimately save financial resources in the right places and substantially use the money to improve other aspects of their respective countries’ economy. For example, the US metal scrap recycling industry employs around half a million workers on average and due to the demand for the scrap metal, the industry makes a turn over of over $100 billion annually on average.
• Price adjustments. If the majority of people practiced metal scrap recycling on a regular basis, the reduction in the cost to produce metallic items could mean that it could also cost less to make a purchase of these metallic goods such as cans and cooking pans.
• Reducing pollution. According to various scientific reports on the metal scrap recycling industries, instead of mining and smelting the ores into metal and opting for recycling may cut the greenhouse gas emissions by s much as half a billion tons of gas emitted into the air. Recycling also helps reduce acid mine drainage which causes water pollution, in areas where metals such as silver, gold, copper, zinc, and lead are mined.
Metal Scrap recycling process
The metal scrap recycling process combines and involves four stages. The scrap metal is collected in scrap yards and is sorted into bins. The scrap yards then sell the scrap to larger scrap collectors where the scrap metal is shredded and melted in large furnaces at very high temperatures, in order to produce blocks or sheets that are then sold to several manufacturers of different metal products.
Step 1: Collection and sorting
Individuals or companies bring different metallic items to scrap yards. These items may include white goods, steel and alloy wheels, batteries and bicycles. These items are then sorted out into rubbish skips then they are transported to larger scrap collectors.
Step 2: Crushing and shredding
Metal scrap recycling plants, first of all, crush the metal in compactors so as to facilitate easier handling on the conveyor belts. Hammer mills then shred the metal into pieces which are the size of an average human hand.
Step 3: Separation
The shredded metal is placed into big magnetic drums that then separate the ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The non-metallic materials like plastic and paint are blown by hot air in a bid to remove them.
Step 4: Melting and Purification
The different types of scrap metals are then melted in different furnaces. Each different metal has its specified furnace depending on their composition properties. The furnaces equipped with fuel-efficient regenerative burners save energy and the environment by reducing the impact of the melting process on the environment. The melting metals are then stirred to ensure the highest end product is achieved.
In the molten state, the metals are purified separately by electrolysis before being poured into different molds, then they are cooled.