What Metals Should You Recycle?

If you are a manufacturing company, you may find yourself contending with excess material at the end of the manufacturing or fabrication process. This material has to be disposed of, but just throwing it away may not be the best choice, especially if there is still a monetary value to it. Scrap metal material can be recycled, in many cases, instead of discarded. And, with so much focus on environmental reporting to shareholders, being able to claim a reduced environmental impact can be good for the company and the environment.

What Metals Should You Be Recycling?

Metals generally fall into two categories: metals containing iron, and metals without iron. These are also known as "ferrous" and "non-ferrous" metals, respectively. In the recycling industry, metal is then further sub-divided into the following categories:

  • Iron and steel-containing

  • Aluminum

  • Copper

  • Lead-containing

  • Other non-ferrous metal, such as brass, zinc, magnesium, nickel, and tin. Precious metals, such as gold and silver, are included in this category, too.

All of these metals can, and often are recycled. The most-often recycled are steel and iron-containing, or ferrous materials as they are the most easily identified and sorted.

How Should You Prepare to Recycle Your Metal?

Your preparation depends on the level of sorting capability that you have in-house and where you want your metal taken to be recycled. For example, one common way to recycle is to send your old machine parts, fabrication left-overs, or other metal components to a scrapyard. You can send the material in bulk, with little to no preparation short of putting it into containers, to be picked up.

The scrapyard will then further sort and classify the material, often using a combination of magnets, hand-sorting, and disassembly to separate the various types of metal for recycling. Some scrap yards will allow customers to come in and buy metal or components from the yard prior to their being disassembled for recycling.

Other recycling services offer more tailored solutions but require more work on your part before sending it off to be recycled. These can include:

  • Full-service recycling – this often is a service that you would pay for instead of using to sell off your scrap metal as it includes other materials such as cardboard, plastic, glass, and paper. Depending upon the service, you may have to sort it all out at your facility.

  • Metal-specific manufacturer recycling – this can be an option for specific metals, such as steel, where the manufacturer would like to reclaim old metal, remove impurities, and re-use it for new fabrication.

Metal recycling can be very beneficial to your business. At a minimum, you are able to get rid of scrap that you may currently be storing. By recycling it, you can potentially gain money for the value of the material and reduce your impact on the environment.

For more information on industrial scrap metal recycling, reach out to a recycling company near you. 

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