Scrap Metal Processing Guide

Scrap Metal Processing Guide

Recycling is an important part of protecting our planet and making sure we use our resources efficiently. We work to divert glass, paper and other items from landfills, but far too many items still end up disposed of instead of recycled. Scrap metal, for example, is one of those items not all businesses or individuals consider recycling.

Since the world mines over 200 million tonnes of metals annually and demand for iron ore, copper, aluminum and other metals is only expected to grow, it makes sense to recycle where we can. Currently, recyclers like Gardner Metal Recycling can take:

And there is room to recycle more. Currently, only about 50.8 percent of the 132 million tonnes of metal supply in the United States comes from recycled metal. This means metals that can be recycled and used again are getting thrown out.

What Is the Process of Scrap Metal Recycling Like?

Before the process of recycling can begin, you need to identify which types of metals you have. In general, there are two kinds of metals: ferrous and non-ferrous. Ferrous metals have iron in them while non-ferrous metals do not. You can test metals yourself by running any kind of magnet over the scrap. If the magnet sticks to the metal, you have a common ferrous material, such as steel. If a magnet does not stick, you have a non-ferrous material, which is more valuable, especially if it’s copper or brass.

First, you need to set aside the scrap you will be recycling. If your business has considerable scrap, you may want to contact your recycler to find out whether there are transportation options available. Once your scrap arrives at scrap metal recyclers, the process involves:

  • Sorting. A recycler center will sort the metal and strip away plastic and other components and then verify if a metal is ferrous or non-ferrous. Recyclers further sort scrap by the type of metal and by the purity of the metal.
  • Compacting and cutting. Using hydraulic machinery, recyclers will compact the metals and then cut them into smaller sections. Then, recyclers pass these smaller sections through machinery called hammer mills, which essentially shred the compacted metal. This stage of recycling is sometimes known as processing.
  • Melting. Scrap metal recyclers set their large furnaces for the right level of heat required for each type of metal. Then, they melt each type of metal down, a process that can take minutes or hours, depending on the specific properties of the metals being recycled.
  • Purifying. At this stage in the recycling process, any contaminants need to be removed. This can be done with magnets or with electrolysis. In electrolysis, an electric current is applied to the scrap metal. Or, recyclers can choose to pass the metal under a powerful magnet, which can help remove impurities.
  • Solidifying. At this stage, the metals are still melted. Recyclers add different chemicals to the mixture to give the metals specific properties businesses and manufacturers need. The mixture is then placed on a conveyor belt, which passes through a cooling chamber where the metal can harden. Depending on what manufacturers need, the metal can be solidified into sheets of metal or blocks.
  • Shipping. Once metal sheets or blocks are made at a recycler center, they are packaged and placed on trucks. They can be transported to manufacturers who can use the recycled metal to make new products.

One exciting thing about scrap metal recycling is that the recycling process can happen over and over again. The products which are made from recycled metal can themselves be recycled to make more products, reducing our dependence on mining.

How Are Austin Scrap Metal Recyclers Part of Austin’s Environmental Culture?

The Austin Community Climate Plan is committed to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. One way to do that is by reducing the amount of ore mining and new metal processing that needs to be done to supply us with the metal we need for everyday life and business use. Scrap metal recycling is a great way to meet demand without additional mining. While the recycling process takes up energy, it uses less than producing new metal.

Scrap metal recycling benefits Austin in other ways, too. It helps businesses earn money from scrap metal, so they can reinvest in their companies, and it helps keep scrap metal out of Austin’s landfills. Austin scrap metal recyclers also create jobs and career opportunities for Austin area residents.

How Can Scrap Metal Recycling Help Businesses or Individuals Meet Their Bottom Line?

Some businesses produce significant metal waste. Contractors may have an excess of wiring or steel beams, for example, and even offices may have electrical equipment that can be recycled. Individuals may have copper pipes and other metal left over from home renovations.

Many types of scrap metal can be recycled, and your local recycler center likely pays cash for some types of metal. If you’re a business producing metal waste, recycling your scrap metal with a recycler can provide an added source of revenue. Instead of throwing cash in the garbage or paying someone to haul it away, you could be adding to your bottom line with recycling.

If you’re an individual or homeowner, scrap metal recycling can help you earn extra cash. That amount can add up over time and can go towards renovations or even just a savings fund.

Why Choose Gardner Metal Recycling?

If you have scrap metal to recycle in the Austin area, Gardner Metal Recycling can help make the process easy and even profitable. After all, we’d been helping Austin residents get more out of scrap metal since 1954. Whether you’re a contractor, utility, manufacturer, utility service provider, industrial business or another business or professional, we make it easy to recycle, even if you’ve never recycled before. We offer a range of services, including convenient metal pick up from your job site or facility, and competitive rates.

Our team truly takes care of it all, from consulting to scrap analysis, volume projections, sorting, storage recommendations and more. We understand you’re busy and we work harder to make sure you don’t have to. Schedule a scrap metal pickup today, consult with one of our professionals or request a price quote or additional information.