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Facts About the Metal Recycling Process


According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), steel is the most recycled material in the world. Some of the other metals that are frequently recycled include:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Silver
  • Brass
  • Gold

Metals can be recycled repeatedly without degrading any of its properties, and scrap metal has a lot of value. Many people are motivated to collect it, so they can sell it to recycling centers. There is also an environmental incentive for metal recycling. It allows us to preserve certain natural resources while consuming less energy than it would take to manufacture products from raw materials. Recycling doesn’t release as much carbon dioxide and other harmful gases. But most importantly, it saves money because it allows manufacturers to lower their production costs. Not to mention, the jobs it creates.

metal recycling process

Types of Metals That Can Be Recycled

Metals can be classified as either ferrous or non-ferrous. Ferrous metals have combinations of iron and carbon, but some of them can also include the following:

  • Carbon steel
  • Alloy steel
  • Wrought iron
  • Cast iron

Some of the common non-ferrous metals include but may not be limited to:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Tin

Precious metals are considered non-ferrous and can include the following:

  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Silver
  • Iridium
  • Palladium

Modern metal recycling technologies can identify many different metals, but the need for more effective recycling technologies with regard to the separation of non-ferrous metals still exists. Separating ferrous metals from non-ferrous metals is one of the most important steps in the sorting process. Ferrous metals are attracted to magnets, so they can be easily pulled out of the waste stream. Scrap yards will have cranes that are fitted with giant magnets that can remove large pieces of ferrous scrap metal.

Other Facts About Metal Recycling

While almost every kind of metal can be repeatedly recycled without degrading any of its properties, only 34% of metal in American municipal waste facilities was recycled in 2018. Here are some additional facts about metal recycling:

  • In 2019, 490.98 million (32%) of the 1,532.51 million metric tons of crude steel produced throughout the world was made out of recycled materials.
  • Approximately 69% of crude steel in the United States was made out of recycled materials in 2019.
  • In the United States alone, about 2.2 million tons of steel cans and other types of steel packaging waste were generated in 2018.
  • Steel and iron are the most recycled materials in the world, primarily because of the opportunity to recover large structures but also due to the ease of reprocessing. Magnets can be used in the sorting process, which makes it easier to separate them from the waste in which it is mixed.
  • The most recycled container in the world is the aluminum can.
  • Recycling an aluminum can save enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for almost four hours.

If you’re looking for one of the best recycling centers in Corpus Christi, be sure to get in touch with Dawson Recycling and Disposal.