Metal Recycling: A Brief Overview of the Process

As simple as it sounds, metal recycling involves the recovery of steel and other kinds of metal that have long since passed their original intended purpose, and giving them a new lease of life.

Most of us are aware to a certain degree of how beneficial the recycling of metal can be from both an economic and environmental point of view, but very few actually people know the process that is involved.

For those interested in learning more about its inner workings, here are the main stages normally associated with the process.
  1. Collection-Everything starts with the collection of the materials. Generally, these metal items are sold to various metal traders and scrap yards as opposed to landfills, and this is mostly the reason why we tend to associate metal more with the scrap business. Some of these businesses, like the scrap yard West Brom offers provide services that include the actual recycling of metal, as well as buying and selling it.
  2. Sorting-After collecting all the metals, it is necessary to sort them out. The repurposing of metal requires the determination of exactly what type of metal is to be recycled. There are different kinds of metal, with varying compositions, well suited to certain purposes, making this a very important stage in the process of metal recycling. It is essential to pay attention towards the quality of the metals in this stage because a standard item could only be manufactured if the parent metal (the one that is recycled) is of good quality.
  3. Shredding-Shredding, as the word suggests, involves basically shredding the metal to be recycled into smaller pieces. This is done not only because it’s relatively easier to melt the smaller bits of metal but because it requires a lot less energy do so. As a result, the process becomes much more economical and efficient.
  4. Purification-While not as self-explanatory as the other phases in the process, purification is no less important. Not many people realise this, but metals can have a variety of impurities that may hinder them from serving their purpose, making them brittle and unfit for a purpose. Purification solves this, typically through a process called electrolysis, which rids the metal of any impurities that it may have.
  5. Solidification-In the last stage in the process, the melted, liquidised metals are then cooled and solidified into shapes that make them easier to transport, normally in the form of metal bars or cylinders. These raw materials are then moved to various industrial complexes like factories, for use in a multitude of applications. When these same materials eventually deteriorate, they’re recovered and sent to undergo the recycling process again.
After solidification, the metals are shaped into bars, packed and transported to varied factories, where they are further utilized for manufacturing products.

As simple as the whole process may seem, its importance cannot be stressed enough. Metal recycling presents a more cost-effective way of meeting a seemingly constant demand for this valuable material, without the environmental repercussions that may otherwise stem from it.
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