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Metal recycling

Because of the many uses that recycled metal can provide, thus we foresee the processes involved in recycling metals are not straight forward too. Indeed, as different metals bear different properties, different measures need to be considered and employed during the course of metal recycling. Nevertheless, it all starts with collection.

 

Usually, metals are gathered at various drop-off points or recycling centres so that sorting can begin. With the use of magnets, ferrous and non-ferrous metals will be separated. Ferrous metals will tend to stick towards magnet while non-ferrous metals will repel. The more valuable metals like copper, aluminium, steel, or bronze, tend to belong to the latter group. After which, one can judge, based on the colours of these metals, to find out the type of metal they are dealing with.

 

Metals will either be shredded into smaller pieces; being melted and moulded into various forms, or compacted before the next stage of recycling begin. All these steps are to ensure that metals, especially those that come in large pieces, are easily managed and sufficient parts are made used of without wastage. Specific recycling procedures will proceed with different types of metal, after the conclusion of basic recycling steps.

 

For example, metals typically found on tinned cans, will undergo a process known as “de-tinning”. Cans that are commonly found in supermarkets are made with 95% of steel with an outer layer of tin (remaining 5%) to prevent it from being rusty. The de-tinned process will start with soaking the compacted cans in chemical solution, so as to remove the outer layer of tin. Electrolysis is performed so that all the tins are accumulated on the same electroplate. The collected tin will hence be melted and made into metal cast or lump. The remaining steel part will be melted and turned into vehicle or machine parts.

 

Similarly, aluminium on soft drink cans is also recycled through melting and moulding into large metal sheets for the making of new containers or car parts. On the other hand, the recycling of copper is not so direct because copper is commonly used for wire covers; therefore, it is essential to ensure its quality. Only the best copper will be melted and oxidised, before being spent on wire making.

 

Recycling processes may or may not take place at respective recycling centres. Most of the time, metals are categorised and processed into small and compacted metal ingots before exporting out to various manufacturers for further processes.

 

 

Life of recycled metal

The life of recycled metal is just as vibrant as raw metal because of the many forms that they can take and the many exploration opportunities that they give for users. Recycled metal is most commonly found in the making of industrial tools, in which they are combined or re-combined with other forms of metal, via an electric arc furnace (EAF), into brand new products with sturdier nature. Furnace is to a device which permits heating to take place at ceiling temperature while EAF is a modified furnace to heat up charged materials using an electric arc. Generally, EAF is used for the making of stainless steel but sometimes, it can also rejuvenate used copper with new life, via added reverberation and blast; likewise for used aluminium, in which they are recycled by EAF by burning in a relatively lower temperature. Other industrial use of recycled metal includes constructions. Used iron or aluminium is broadly employed in the building of road and bridges. Occasionally, these metal scraps will also land themselves in parts of automobiles, aircrafts, or other vehicles. Recently, used metals are also actively utilised to lower the toxic level of wastewater produced by factories. Recycled metals, especially aluminium, are also of no stranger to the making of containers, cans, or pans, which are frequently used in the commercial setting. Most of the time, companies viewed the use of recycled metal as a cheaper alternative to mining of new metal or venturing into the use of other raw materials. […]

Metal = Money?

Some people viewed metal recycling as a source of great fortune as the required capital is low while the revenues it can generate is huge. However, metal recycling can only turn into a proper business if one has the know-how, since not all metals are suitable for recycling. If you have absolute no idea, perhaps it will be great to start off with the following. First of all, know the nature of different metals. Metals can be colloquially classified into ferrous and non-ferrous, with the latter bearing a higher value as compared to the former. Unfortunately, it is easier to spot and collect ferrous metals like iron or alloys than non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, copper, or steel. Even though this is the case, it does not necessarily means that collecting non ferrous metal alone will garner great profit. Different metal collector will actually pay different price for the same kind of metal collected. Therefore, it is recommended to call up several metal collectors to compare their collection prices, before selling off what you have in the basket. Furthermore, metals are purchased based on weight, usually one will need to drive their trucks, containing the metals to the designated collector for weighing and payment. Prices of metals, too, fluctuate according to market demands, thus, it is also essential to keep an eye on the change. One will never make a living if the dustbin is the sole source of metal; hence there is a need to find out other possible […]

Factors that determine values of metal

Prices of metal fluctuate the way foreign currency does, hence traders or metal collectors often need to be fully aware of the market. Nevertheless, there are several major factors that are pushing or pulling the change. One of the most dominant factors will be the international market. Metal tycoons like United States and China are often accountable. For example, United States export an estimated 55% of the World’s ferrous metal yearly. While the annual trade in terms of metal scraps, between China and United States can be as high as 8 billion. As a result, market prices of metal can suffer great impact when there is a change in policies or regional demands. Similarly, local market also played a role as government impact the industry by imposing affecting rules; while collectors, processing companies, or manufacturers influence the demands of different kinds of metals. For example, when economy is slow, there will be a decrease in public related construction or repair projects, thus the demand for new materials like steel; will be scaled down as a result. Occasionally, the sales of new car can also be a good indicator, if the demand for metals is changing. The demand will reduce when there is a drop in sales. On the other hand, individuals who have direct contact with metals, also have a say in the price. Although armed with the same type of metals, but different collector will pay different price for them. At the same time, these collectors also keep their […]

Why metal recycling?

Recycling of metal is not a modern practice; it has been an on-going activity for the past hundreds of years, and it is growing in importance recently. To date, about one-third of the World’s aluminium is recycled product, similarly for steel and copper. One of the most obvious benefits of metal recycling will be sustainability. Metal mining and processing of raw metals into functional ones are non-sustainable, since there is a limit to the amount of metals that Earth has. Thus, mere exploiting new mining grounds will also not guaranteed constant metal supply, resulting metal recycling as a better alternative. Furthermore, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to the atmosphere is lesser for metal recycling than mining and processing of raw metals; contributing to the effort of saving the environment. Recycling metal conserves energy that was previously spent on metal ore extraction, refining, and other processes of metal manufacturing. The amount of energy saved, varies in accordance to the types of metal, but in general, recycling of aluminium and copper, can save up to 90% of the energy, while half the energy is saved for iron and steel. Such saving will help in minimising of capital required for large construction or repair projects. As the processes involved in metal recycling are complicated, the amount of direct or indirect jobs created, is equally huge. Besides, metal recycling industry produces 10 times more in terms of revenue and employment, as compared to other waste processing or recycling industries. Hence, metal recycling is […]

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