Metals are valuable materials that can be recycled again and again without altering their properties. Scrap metal are quite valuable, which motivates people to collect it for sale to recycling companies. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), steel is the most recycled material on the planet. The other highly recycled metals include aluminum, copper, silver, brass, and gold.
The recycling of metals enables to preserve natural resources while requiring less energy to process than the manufacture of new products using virgin raw materials. Recycling emits less carbon dioxide and other harmful gasses. More importantly, it helps to save money and allows manufactures to reduce their production cost. Recycling also helps to create new jobs.
Types of Recycled Metals
Metals are classified as ferrous, or non-ferrous. Ferrous metals are combinations of iron with carbon. Some common ferrous metals are carbon steel, alloy steel, wrought iron, and cast iron.
Non-ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, lead, zinc, and tin. Precious metals are non-ferrous. The most common precious metals include gold, platinum, silver, iridium, and palladium.
Metal Recycling Technologies
Modern recycling technologies can effectively identify many different kinds of metals. Separating ferrous metals from non-ferrous metals is one of the most important steps in the sorting process. As ferrous metals contain iron, they are attracted by magnets and easily pulled out of the mixed waste stream.
When sorting metals from a mixed stream of recyclable material, the paper is removed first, leaving only plastics and metals. Although aluminum is not magnetic, this technology can levitate it and allow plastics to drop out of the process. Recovering precious metals such as palladium, platinum, gold and other valuable metals such as copper, lead, and silver from electronic waste becomes economically viable only if enough scrap is collected. Such separation takes more technologically advanced and sophisticated recycling equipment. Three common categories of metal sensing processes include biotechnology, hydrometallurgy, and pyro metallurgy. The use of these technologies can effectively improve metal recovery rates.
Management of Energy Consumption
The recycling of metal reduces the growing demand for natural resources such as ore. When more and more metals are recycled, the demand for the natural metal is reduced. On top of that, less energy is required to process scrap metal than it is required to extract ore from the earth, purify it and later shape it into desired shapes and sizes.
Saving the Environment
As people grow more concerned about the environment, the recycling industry is putting additional pressure on businesses to recycle. Companies are expected to recycle materials where possible, with metal recycling being a huge part of this. Recycling metals is an environmental alternative to other forms of disposal, as it cuts down emissions and reduces air pollution. Above all, the recycling process will help eliminate pollution from the atmosphere and encourage others to make the most of metal’s versatile usage.