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How Much Do You Know Scrap Metal Recycling
Date: 10/10/2022 | read: 325

Metals are everywhere around us in our daily lives: food packaging, mobile phones, household appliances, roofs, joinery, etc. They are so present that we tend to forget them.  Fortunately for the protection of the environment, the recycling of scrap and metals is possible.

The different types of metals

From cans to electric cables, including household appliances and aluminum packaging, metal objects are everywhere. But according to their characteristics, they are distinguished into two categories.

Non-ferrous metals

These are all metals that contain little or no iron. We thus find:

Lead : formerly used in housing pipes or in the automotive sector, lead is now subject to several restrictions due to its toxicity to humans. That said, it is still used in some areas, but in a controlled way. This is particularly the case for protection against X-rays, or even in sheaths for cables used in the energy production industry.

Tin : it is a material that is very rarely found in its natural state. Tin is basically extracted from a mineral. It will then have to be extracted from the rocks and then associated with other metals, such as cassiterite.

Aluminum : after steel, it is the second most used metal in industrial, aeronautical, automotive or construction companies. Most of the time, it is found in the form of an alloy.

Copper : this semi-precious metal has been used by humans since the end of the 5th millennium. It is particularly sought after for its malleability and electrical conductivity.

Silver : it is an almost indestructible metal of great value. But its high cost limits its use: silverware, jewelry, photography, electronics or medical imaging.

Gold : it is one of the oldest precious metals (- 6000 BC). Due to its rarity, gold is mainly a monetary reference. However, it can be used in jewelry or high-tech electronics.

What characterizes non-ferrous metals are usually unique attributes such as their resistance to corrosion, lightness, conductivity, etc. But this also makes them more expensive than ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals or scrap

Fewer in number than non-ferrous metals, ferrous metals are mostly composed of iron.

Iron : it is the most common metal on our planet. And for good reason, it is drawn directly from the basements. Its abundance makes it one of the cheapest metals. However, it is very susceptible to corrosion. Thus, its uses are limited to welding on stainless materials. But in the majority of cases, it is associated with other metals.

Steel : based on iron, steel also contains carbon (but still less than 1.7%). It is possible to add other materials to it to create alloys and change its properties. For example, stainless steel (or stainless steel) is created with a certain amount of chromium.

Cast iron : this metal is heated and cast to produce more or less complex molded parts.

Whether ferrous or not, it is always possible to recycle scrap and metal.

What metals can be recycled?

In principle, all irons and metals can be recycled. But due to their use on a global scale, it is above all aluminum and steel that are concerned. Because of their great use in our daily lives, today there are infrastructures to recycle these metals in particular. But whatever they are, the advantage of different metals is their ability to retain their initial properties, regardless of the number of recyclings.

And that's a good thing for the planet. Indeed, the extraction and processing of these minerals cause many ecological problems (soil and atmospheric pollution, deforestation, depletion of resources, etc.). Thus, the collection and recycling of scrap iron and metals makes it possible to limit the impact of such operations.

What are the metal recycling steps?

The recycling of scrap and metals begins with sorting by households or businesses.

Following this, they are transported to sorting centers . Here, the metals are sorted by categories (ferrous or not). Since the sorting center is magnetic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals are separated automatically by the different magnets. The latter only attract ferrous metals, leaving the others on the sieve.

Then, after this first sorting, the metals are cleaned, crushed, cut, then compacted . After grinding, they go to the foundry where they are heated in a furnace. This removes varnishes, labels, lacquers and other impurities.

They are thus transformed into raw material. More precisely, they take the form of plates, coils, bars, ingots, steel and aluminum wires in order to be reconditioned into a finished product.

How can scrap dealer makes good profit ?

A handheld XRF analyzer or handheld XRF gun can reduce the risk of buying and shipping and charging unwanted materials to a furnace or smelter which can lead to costly penalties. so it can help scrap metal recyclers improve their profitability, If this happens, you will likely face the costs of returning the shipment and re-sorting if the mix-up is discovered before payment. In addition, reprocessors and steel plant in many alloy applications are often unconcerned if all material is the same alloy type—just so long as the final melt chemistry is within specification. Therefore to achieve a fast and accurate element chemistry is more important in the blending process.

The value of preparing and sorting any metal to the correct grade chemistry can show in the operating profit for the scrap recycling process. In the examples below, as generally the metal price is high and the cost of a single handheld XRF analyzer can be recovered rapidly.

What happens to recycled metals?

The purpose of recycling metals and scrap metal is to give a second life to all scrap metal waste . But what happens to recycled ingots, coils, bars or wires?

This transformation of metals will depend on their characteristics.

Thus, non-ferrous metals can turn into aluminum foil, spray cans, car parts, doors, windows, etc. For their part, ferrous metals metamorphose into household appliances, tin cans, keys, metal structures, etc.

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