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The metals recycling industry

clip_image002One of the areas we cover as waste management specialists is scrap metal recycling. Over 400 million tonnes of scrap metal is recycled worldwide every year in order to process ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap into secondary raw material, which can then be used to produce new metals.

Virtually all metals can be recycled into high quality new metal. The recycling process is different for each metal, but it’s important as using these secondary raw materials means less use of the natural resources needed to make new metal compounds - metal recycling still produces metals of equivalent quality.

Metal manufacturing continues to be one of the UK’s largest manufacturing sectors, so recycling metal has a significant economic value and therefore rarely discarded or sent to landfill.

The UK is one of the five largest metal scrap exporting countries in the world with around 60% of our metals exported worldwide:

Packaging: approximately two billion aluminium and steel cans are recycled each year in the UK.

Vehicles: over 75% of a car is metal, around half of the material processed in metal recycling shredders comes from vehicles.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE): European Community directive that recycles most rejected household appliances.

Batteries: metals recycling industry already recycles most lead acid vehicle and industrial batteries.

Scrap metal recycling companies carry out a range of functions in order to recycle metals, including some of the following:

  • Collection, weighing, sorting and distribution
  • Shearing – reducing the size of larger pieces of metal by cutting
  • Bailing/compacting – for ease of transport and handling
  • Shredding – reducing to smaller pieces, separating any other material from the metals using magnets and air classification
  • Media separation – additional separation of any non-ferrous metals using liquid density and hand or mechanical sorting
  • International metals trading – transporting metals around the world

See more about our recycling services for ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal.

For more information on hiring the right skip for your scrap metal needs, then visit our guide: Hiring a skip, here are the ground rules.

Source: BMRA

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