Iron is a base, ferrous metal that has been used by humanity since about 1200 BCE. It is part of our history and our present. It has no metals added to it, though it is used in many alloys. Iron is used in construction and in making items around the home, including cast iron pans, wrought iron gates and more. Most iron ore that is produced, however, is used to make steel.
There are two types of iron — wrought and cast. Cast iron has high carbon and hardens after it’s poured into molds. Wrought iron, on the other hand, is heated and shaped and has lower amounts of carbon, which makes it easier to manipulate.
Can You Recycle Iron?
Is iron ore recyclable? The great news is that not only is it recyclable, but it is infinitely recyclable. This means it will hold onto its properties without degrading, so products made from iron can eventually become an almost endless array of new items.
Can you recycle wrought iron? Cast iron and wrought iron can both be melted down and recycled, so they can be sent to manufacturers to make new iron products or can even be turned into alloys.
Does It Matter If It’s Rusty?
Rust can affect the value of your iron because the corrosion will make your scrap lighter and recyclers measure and pay you for your scrap by weight. However, rusty iron can still be recycled. During the iron recycling process, scrap metal recyclers have a process for removing impurities and for separating the usable parts of the metal from non-usable parts.
What Is the Iron Recycling Process Like?
Iron recycling starts before you get to the recycling center. You must first gather your iron and separate it from other metals. You can then contact a recycling center for pickup if you have a large volume of scrap. The recycling center will weigh the iron and offer a quote. Once you have agreed to the quote, the recycling center takes the iron and the process begins. This involves:
- Sorting. The recycling center will sort through your iron scrap and will separate it from any other metals. They will further sort your iron by its purity. Even if you have sorted your scrap yourself, this additional step is needed to ensure high-quality recycling.
- Processing. Using hydraulic machines, recyclers will compact or crush the iron and will then reduce it to small, shredded scraps in preparation for melting.
- Melting. Scrap metal recycling facilities have large furnaces capable of reaching very high heat for different metals. The melting point of iron, for example, is 2,800°F. Recyclers will set the appropriate temperature and melt down the iron.
- Reforming. Once the iron has been melted, impurities can be removed using high-powered magnets. Then the iron is cooled and formed into bars or ingots.
- Transportation. Ingots or bars of iron can be packaged and placed on trucks for shipping. Manufacturers can use recycled iron to make new iron products or even to make steel. In fact, about 32% of steel made around the world uses recycled materials.
The iron recycling process is especially important because the process of making new iron is so energy-dependent. Mining iron ore pollutes waterways and the earth with acids and heavy metals. The large furnaces used in refining ore are powered by coal so their smokestacks release air pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. Recycling iron does require energy use, but the process is far less harmful to the environment. The more iron we are able to recycle, the more we can curb our reliance on iron ore mining and processing, which has a significant impact on our communities and the world.
How Can Iron and Scrap Metal Recycling Help Businesses or Individuals Economically?
The iron recycling process comes with some economic benefits, too. Recycling facilities pay companies, contractors and individuals for their scrap metal, so if your business has iron building materials or iron ore scrap to discard, you can make money instead of disposing of the iron or even paying someone to haul it away.
While the money you can get from iron is less than you might get for a non-ferrous metal such as copper, the amount you make can still go towards your business or your personal expenses. It’s better to get money for something than to add it to the landfills. The exact amount you can get for iron ore varies depending on current market value and the amount of scrap you have. If you are interested in recycling, the best way to get an accurate idea of how much your business could make is to ask a recycling facility for an estimate.
Why Choose Gardner Metal Recycling?
Gardner Metal Recycling has been helping businesses, contractors and individuals recycle iron and scrap metal since 1954. We are proud to be part of the Austin community and to be playing a role in diverting scrap metal from Texas landfills.
The team at Gardner Metal Recycling partners with industrial and manufacturing clients as well as those in other sectors, offering services to help save busy professionals time. Our transparent process and our customized solutions are here for you when you need reliable scrap recycling.
At Gardner Metal Recycling, we can offer a competitive price as well as scrap analysis, consulting services, sorting, volume projections, storage recommendations and other services. We are truly your one-stop solution for all your scrap metal recycling needs. We even offer a convenient pickup service for your job site or facility.
In addition to iron, Gardner Metal Recycling also recycles aluminum, copper, brass, steel, high temp metal, exotic metal, carbide, tin, scrap cable and wire, electronics, machine turnings and catalytic converters. To find out more or to get a price quote, contact us or schedule a consultation with one of our recycling professionals. If you have iron or scrap metal to recycle, you can also schedule a pickup.