We all know that recycling is important because it’s good for the environment. In Austin especially, we know that there are a handful of helpful habits we can add to our daily routine. But once the items we recycle—especially the scrap metal that goes directly to a scrap yard—leave our home or worksite, what happens next? In many cases, the whole point of recycling is to take those old items and put them back into circulation so that they eventually make their way back to us in a new form. But how does that all happen?
When it comes to recycling scrap metal, next steps after the scrap yard may fluctuate slightly depending on the type and value of the metal. Typically, though, the journey is a somewhat consistent process. Let’s take a look!
Where Does My Scrap Go After I Drop It Off?
So you’ve just unloaded your scrap at your favorite Austin scrap yard near you. Congratulations, you’ve helped contribute to the roughly 130 million tons of metal materials recycled in the United States every year! But the journey doesn’t end there; in order to reclaim your old metals and prepare them for reuse, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
The first big step is sorting. Depending on the scrap yard you’ve used, you were probably asked to sort your materials in advance (not only does this make life easier on the scrappers, but it increases the value you get for your scrap). Regardless of whether you did so, the recycling experts will probably do one final round of this to make sure like metals go with like metals and that no bits of wood or plastic end up in the mix. Not sure what Gardner Metal Recycling will take off your hands? Check out What We Buy.
Once that’s all taken care of, unless it’s a major item (such as a car) that can potentially be fixed up and directly resold, your metal is off to the smelters! Some larger scrap yards have an on-site smelting facility, but most will contract out the work to a separate location, where the metal is melted down entirely using high-temperature furnaces. In the Austin area, the recent government initiatives focused on sustainability have led to an increase in smelting activity, including the opening of new plants. Not only does the added recycling benefit the environment, it’s been an important boost to the local infrastructure; more recycling means more demand for facilities like this, which in this case means more jobs!
After smelting, the liquid metal is poured into ingots and then sold off to various production companies that require metal. All in all, the journey that begins at your home or construction site can extend far beyond the reach of Austin, with your metals often making their way across the country or even overseas!
What Happens Next?
Once your metals have made it through the smelting process, they begin their journey all over again. Ingots are used by any sort of manufacturing entity that uses metal, so the options are nearly endless as far as where they may end up. The one thing that stays consistent is that these metals are used to make all sorts of brand-new products, which may very well end up making their way back to you in some form.
The beauty of the recycling journey is that when scrap metal is reused, it reduces the demand on our natural resources. For example, recycling 10 pounds of aluminum cans can reduce greenhouse emissions by sixteen pounds, so imagine what kind of impact commercial contractors can make by bringing in their spare aluminum!
Additionally, it reduces the need for transportation, mining, and metal processing plants, all of which exert further strain on the environment. Most iron ore comes from faraway locations like Australia or Brazil, so recycling the old stainless steel equipment when your business installs a new kitchen means a reduced environmental strain caused by a long import process. When you bring your metal in to be recycled, not only do you get rid of something that isn’t helping you, but you can make some extra cash and do a valuable service to the planet. It’s a win-win-win.
Want to get involved in the recycling journey? Check out which metals we buy and start sorting your scrap.
Get Help from the Recycling Experts at Gardner Metal Recycling
At Gardner Metal Recycling we want to make the world a little cleaner, and we want to help you get involved. Whether you’re a contractor cleaning up after a big construction project or are just looking to get rid of the junk around your house, start separating your metals and get the ball rolling; we’ll be standing by to offer you a fair price to make it worth your while!
And if hauling your scrap in is too much of a headache—you may not have the time or the transport readily available—we can arrange a pickup for your scrap as well. Recycling is a lengthy journey, but we’re proud to be an Austin scrap yard that makes your part in it simple!