As a society, we become more and more aware of our impact on the environment. Among the things we can do to improve the situation, recycling is probably the easiest one. It doesn’t cost us anything, and it doesn’t take much time. Plus, in case of metals, there’s also an additional incentive. You can actually get some money back by selling your scrap metal to the local scrap yard.
Recycling metals offer environmental and financial benefits, as in many cases they can be processed almost indefinitely without any loss in quality. Reusing such materials is a lot cheaper and easier than mining raw ores and allows us to save natural resources for future generations. It’s also an effective way of limiting CO2 emissions, as recycling requires only a small percentage of the energy needed to mine and process new ores.
The most recycled metals
Metals are the most recycled materials right now, but even among them, some are processed more often than the others. Even though the numbers are higher than in case of plastic and glass, we’re still only half-way to achieving the goal of 100% recyclability of the products we use. Among the most recycled metals are:
Most of the steel that ends up in recycling comes from large structures like dismantled buildings and bridges, which makes the whole process very efficient. Huge elements give a lot of material at once and limit the need for sorting which is necessary, f.e., in case of scrap metal.
Aluminium is used in everything from producing cars to food packaging. And since it can be recycled over and over without losing any of its quality, reusing it is very cost-effective.
Lead can be found mainly in lead batteries, which makes it easy to identify and recycle. Thanks to this, it reached almost 100% recyclability across Europe and North America.
The recycling process
Most people will be able to correctly name recyclable materials since many of them are probably already segregating their trash. But knowing what can be recycled is not the same as knowing what the recycling process looks like. It may seem like your work is done once you throw your trash into the correct bin to be collected and processed. And maybe you don’t feel like you need to know more, but to fully understand why recycling is so important, knowing the whole process can be very helpful.
Metals are more valuable than other recyclable materials, that’s why you most likely won’t have trouble finding a scrap yard willing to pay for the scrap metal you want to throw out. You can either deliver it yourself or arrange a pick up by your chosen company.
This stage involves sorting different types of metals. Steel, aluminium, copper and all other metals delivered to a recycling centre have to be separated before they can be processed. Currently, this process is mostly automated, which makes it go much faster.
Metal products which end up in recycling are of all shapes and sizes. This can make it difficult to melt them. Plus, shredding them into smaller elements means a lot less energy will be needed during the melting process.
After sorting and shredding, each metal goes into its designated furnace to be melted. Each furnace is specifically designed to generate the heat necessary for a particular type of metal to melt down.
Once the metals are melted, they need to be purified. During this stage, all the impurities are removed, which guarantees the high quality of the final product.
Finally, the melted materials are cooled down and shaped into specific forms. The purpose of this step is to make them easier to transport and reuse again.
If you have metal products you’ve accumulated over the years, it’s a great moment to declutter your house and help the environment at the same time. Look for a scrap yard in London, or any city in your area, to find out how and when you can give such items away. It’s also a good idea to compare prices before making your final choice.