Specialising in Nickel Alloys and Stainless Steel

Metal Recycling for Dummies

Scrap metal in compressed blocks for recycling.

Environmental sustainability is a key word in today’s language.  It means to minimise the environmental impact of a process. This is the key to environmental sustainability.

To mine and refine all metals has a huge environmental impact.  To re-use metals that are no longer useful in their current form has a significant lower of environmental impact.

This is what metal recycling is all about.  All metal is used for a specific purpose in manufacturing however the metal becomes worn out. At some point, it becomes a waste product.

Aluminium is a great example.  Aluminium is a light and durable metal that is used extensively in house and other construction, furniture, pots and pans, roofing, drinking cans to name a few.  It has been calculated that too recycle aluminium the environmental impact is 10 times less them mining and refining the aluminium from scratch.

Most metals have a similar profile. From a  sustainability point of view it is better to recycle than to mine and refine.  In the majority of cases metals do not loose their commercial value in being remanufactured from scrap.

At Total Metal Recyclers (TMR) we have processes in place that ensure that metals are processed to maximise their capacity to be reused as a refined product. Contamination of scrap metal material is the major reason that some scrap metal stocks will be difficult to recycle. The cleaner the product the more value that is will have as recycling material.

Many metals that we use in our everyday life have slightly different forms. Stainless Steel is a great example. Common forms of Stainless Steel are 316 Stainless Steel and 304 Stainless Steel. These are totally different alloys and should not be mixed. They can easily be separated with a magnet – a magnet will stick to 304 stainless steel and not to 316 stainless steel. The 316 stainless steel is worth more but if it is mixed with 304 Stainless Steel the whole batch will become 304 Stainless Steel and some value will be lost.

Clean and Dirty copper is another example.  Clean copper is 99.99% copper. This has the highest value.  Once the copper is contaminated with other metals or is oxidised (bonded with oxygen from the air or water) then it loses value as the product becomes less than 99.99% Copper.

If you want to know more about recycling metals call in with some metal and the Total Metal Recycling (TMR) staff will explain the differences and show how you can maximise the benefits of recycling scrap metal.

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