Scrap metal, as we mentioned in the post in which we talked about the types of scrap metal, is waste material made up of any type of substance or piece of metal. The vast majority of these components can be recycled, contributing to the circular economy and creating a more sustainable planet. Therefore, this time we are going to talk about scrap metal recycling, a fundamental part of the recycling sector.
Scrap metal recycling process
The recycling of scrap metal and metals, as we have mentioned, is fundamental not only for the recycling sector, but also for the environment. At ScrapAd, scrap marketplace, we are aware of this and we attach great importance to it, as in this way we contribute to the care of our environment, as well as curbing the waste of natural raw materials.
The scrap metal recycling process generally begins with the transfer of the material to specialised companies or waste managers, which are responsible for both the collection and its correct classification, treatment and recovery. In the following, we will explain each of these stages of the scrap recycling process.
It is the companies that produce or generate waste that usually contact the authorised waste managers to sell the scrap metal so that they can manage it in the appropriate manner.
Entry of scrap metal into the recycling plant
The scrap metal is taken to the recycling plant, where the material is weighed on an approved scale.
Unloading of the scrap metal
Once the metal material has been weighed on the scales, it is brought into the facilities so that it can be unloaded and sorted into the appropriate sections.
Review and inspection
In this step, the professionals of the plant are in charge of reviewing and inspecting all the material entering the recycling plant. In this way, they can appraise and value it in terms of the possibilities of scrap metal trading.
Sorting of the scrap metal
At this point, the scrap is sorted according to its type, i.e. ferrous scrap, non-ferrous scrap or mixed scrap. This is where the material goes through several stages: shredding, screening and separation. This is how they get each metal on the one hand, and on the other hand, any material that is not scrap (plastics, textiles, etc.). Once it has been sorted, it is handled and accumulated in piles so that it can leave the recycling plant having already been treated.
Output of the scrap
Once the material has been treated, it is loaded back onto trucks and transported to foundries to be turned into new products.
Why is scrap recycling important?
The recycling of these materials is very important in the sector, as a large part of the recycling that is carried out is of metallic materials. It also has a great environmental impact and economic savings. Reusing these materials means that extraction and subsequent primary production is not necessary, which implies very high investment and operating costs. On the other hand, CO2 emissions into the atmosphere are considerably reduced. In concrete terms, we know that manufacturing a new product from recycled material means 20% less emissions.
On an economic level, in 2021 in Spain it is estimated that the iron and steel industry recycled more than 11 million tonnes of scrap, i.e. 60% of the waste that was recycled was metallic materials.
All metallic materials can be recycled. Some of them can even be recycled indefinitely without their quality and properties being affected, such as iron and steel. Other very common metals for recycling are copper, brass and aluminium.
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