Types of scrap metal

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Scrap, as we already know, is waste material, consisting of pieces of metal from old objects, machines or appliances, which can be transformed into useful material. However, this classification also includes other types of non-metallic materials. That is why in this post we are going to explain the classification of the types of scrap metal.

What is scrap metal

Scrap metal is the name given to all pieces of old or scrap metal. Scrap is also known as old machinery or appliances that have ceased to function or other pieces of metal such as coins or jewelry of lesser value.

Metals are one of the most valuable resources, since, in economic terms, their primary production involves quite high investment and operating costs. Therefore, there is a high demand for scrap and metal waste for recovery and subsequent reuse.

 Most of the metal production today is carried out by scrap recycling, since metals can be recovered and regenerated several times without affecting the material.

Types of scrap metal

Types of scrap are normally classified into two main groups: ferrous scrap and non-ferrous scrap.

Ferrous scrap

Ferrous metal wastes are those that come from iron and/or steel, and their alloys. Therefore, they are also referred to as foundry scrap. These are used primarily for their durability and strength. To a large extent, you will find ferrous metals in the construction of automobiles, railroads, large-scale pipelines, housing or industrial containers. Most of them are magnetic to some degree, so they are also useful to produce household appliances and motors.

However, this type of scrap has one negative characteristic, and that is that they are susceptible to rusting when exposed to climatic elements for prolonged periods of time.

Ferrous scrap is classified into three groups:

  1. Industry scrap: that which comes from the industrial sector (product manufacturing), i.e., all that surplus that results after the industrial use of any metal.
  2. Burr scrap
  3. Fuel scrap

Non-ferrous scrap

Non-ferrous scrap metals are usually more malleable and lighter, which makes them ideal for situations that demand strength without great weight: such as in canning or aircraft construction. They are generally used for their individual characteristics. 

You can also find them outdoors, thanks to their high resistance to rust and corrosion, making them the perfect choice for water pipes, roofs and traffic signs. In addition, these metals are non-magnetic, so they are also used as small electronic components and cables. That is why the electronic scrap recycling is also important.

Examples of non-ferrous scrap metals include:   

  • Copper is extracted from cables, pipes, PVC wires or electric motors. This material can be found in kitchenware or, mostly, in everything related to pipes.
  • Aluminium is found in ingots, profiles, offcuts and others. It is a material that can be used to make cutlery or cans.
  • Brass is obtained in the form of shavings, offcuts, tinning or wires. All leftovers of this material can be used for decorative elements.
  • Bronze is normally used in industrial machinery and can be recovered for use in decorative fixtures and the jewellery industry. 

Benefits of scrap recycling

Metals have a great capacity for regeneration during the industrial recycling process, which makes it a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of their recovery for the care of the environment. These are the most important benefits of scrap reuse.

Lower consumption of natural resources

By increasing the use of recycled materials, it is possible to take care of the environment and help to better preserve natural resources, reusing the raw materials recovered through the scrap recycling process.

Reduction of waste generation

Thanks to the recycling of scrap and its classification and treatment during waste management, metal ready for reuse in new production processes is achieved again. In this way, raw material that would otherwise have ended up in the landfill is recovered.

Reduced air and water pollution

The accumulation of waste in landfills produces high levels of air and water pollution. Therefore, proper waste management and recycling generates a reduction in solid metal waste and, consequently, reduces pollution.

 

From ScrapAd, the reference platform for scrap metal trading and recyclable materials, we hope we have clarified the different types of scrap that exist, we also talk about the types of industrial waste. Find out how you can access the sale of scrap or the purchase of scrap.

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