“Reduce, reuse, and recycle!” It’s a phrase we have heard since childhood. Maybe you do your part by tossing plastic bottles, old paper documents, and crushed soda cans into your home’s recycling bin. If so, you’re on to an excellent start!
But did you know the recycling of scrap metal also helps the planet? Scrap metals include car parts, plumbing fixtures, building supplies, and other larger pieces of metal you wouldn’t typically drop into the recycling bin at home.
In this blog by Flow Pros, you’ll discover the basics of scrap metal recycling and how easily you can participate.
Why Should You Recycle Your Scrap Metal?
Unless educated on the subject, people all over the globe have a misconception that metals, along with other precious resources, have an endless supply. Unfortunately, this is not our reality. Metals are considered a “nonrenewable resource,” meaning their sources are finite and will eventually be depleted at the current consumption rate.
Some sources claim it will only take 50 years for the Earth to run out of raw metals to be mined. At the same time, others argue that it will take a little longer. Either way, the day will come when we have exhausted our raw metal resources, and a new course of action will need to take place.
So, what does this all mean?
It means we, the consumers, have a responsibility to do our part. This doesn’t mean every one of us must recycle every piece of scrap metal we have. However, it is a goal we need to work towards little by little. Because, one day, it may be our reality.
Not to mention, there are several other reasons to begin participating in the recycling of scrap metal. The following points are just a few benefits of recycling used metals.
Saves Landfills from Hazardous Waste
Metals take hundreds or thousands of years to break down. So, when they make their way to our overflowing landfills, they take up large amounts of valuable space for far too long. But that’s not the worst of it. In fact, certain metals, like lead and mercury, are detrimental to the land and water surrounding the landfill. Soil and water contaminated by hazardous metals kill wildlife and make their way into our drinking water.
Conserving Energy and Resources
Ironically, the recycling of scrap metals for further use takes much less energy and resources than producing new products with freshly mined material. However, recycling occurs on a smaller scale than the manufacturing of metals. This is because we still don’t recycle as much as we should, despite the many years we’ve been encouraged to. Unfortunately, this is the case with the recycling of any material.
Did you know the energy saved from recycling just one aluminum can is enough to power a 100-watt bulb for around 4 hours? Imagine recycling each aluminum can produced. The energy savings would be remarkable. We could keep millions of homes running with the recycling of scrap metal.
Less Need to Mine for Metals
With so many metal products making their way to store shelves and large businesses daily, why would there be a continuous need to mine for new material? If all the current scrap metal were recycled, there would be no need. But, as mentioned before, our world isn’t entirely on board with the importance of recycling just yet.
Mining is highly invasive to our planet. When new metals are extracted, massive trucks and hefty equipment are used. The process destroys precious lands and releases toxic and radioactive compounds, metallic dust, and other harmful minerals into the atmosphere and water.
The environmental impact doesn’t end there, either. Here are some other significant hazards caused by mining for raw metals:
- Damage to fragile wildlife ecosystems
- Loss of biodiversity
- Sinkhole formation
- Groundwater contamination
The mining industry upholds many communities and provides jobs for thousands of people. So, it’s unrealistic to eliminate this invasive process. However, reducing the need for mining will still have a massive impact on the health of our planet. And it starts with the recycling of scrap metals. So, do your part and spread the word!
More Money in Your Pocket
An instant benefit of the recycling of scrap metal is the cash you can get from it. That’s right! You can get paid to donate your scrap metals to your local scrap yard or recycling plant.
Many websites will help you estimate how much cash you can get from the scrap metal you collect. However, these numbers aren’t always guaranteed. So, the best thing you can do is talk to your local scrap yards to get more accurate prices for your metals.
Furthermore, the recycling of scrap metal benefits the economy. For example, in 2010, the metal recycling industry made over $60 billion from its process.
All while helping the planet. Does it get any better?
What Plumbing Materials are Recyclable?
At Flow Pros Plumbing, we know the value of recycling scrap metals. You can recycle all kinds of plumbing fixtures and products to aid in the Earth’s health. That’s why we do everything we can to ensure our disposable material is recycled.
Here are some of the common examples of what the plumbing industry can recycle:
- Brass (yellow and red)
- Die-cast hardware
- Steel pipes
- Galvanized pipes
- Copper pipes
- Cast iron sinks and tubs
- Lead plumbing
- Water heaters
- Copper and aluminum cores
If you do much of your home’s plumbing on your own, you, too, can begin recycling the scrap metal you would otherwise toss in the trash. In the following section, you’ll discover how it works.
The Recycling of Scrap Metal
Now that you know about the recycling of scrap metal and how it can benefit you and the planet, perhaps you are curious about what happens to the metal at the recycling plant. Read on to learn all about the process of recycling valuable scrap metal.
1 | It Starts with You
Flow Pros does our part. Now, it’s time for you to do yours. Perhaps you have scrap metal at your home or business that often gets disposed of in your trash bins. Make a difference for the planet and start collecting the metals to be taken to your local recycling plant. You’ll make a little extra cash and save the Earth from the harmful impact of metals in landfills and over mining.
Before heading off to the plant with your heavy container of mixed scrap metal, there are a couple of things you can do to get the most money for your haul and help the facility process it:
- Separate the metal into ferrous and nonferrous metal. You can determine which is which by waving a magnet over your scrap metal. The pieces that stick to the magnet are ferrous, meaning they contain iron.
- Next, sort the metals by type- copper, aluminum, steel, etc.
- Place each type of metal in its own container to make your experience at the facility run smoothly and quickly.
2 | Sorting at the Facility
The facility will sort through your scrap metal once more to ensure quality. They’ll separate the metals by type and strip away any plastics or other nonmetal components. Next, the facility will sort by how pure the metals are. To do this, the scrap metal is passed through magnets, infrared sensors, and x-ray.
3 | Processing and Melting
The next step in the recycling of scrap metal is to cut the larger pieces down. The scrap is shredded with powerful hydraulic machinery to make melting the metal much easier. Then, in a large furnace, the material is melted by type. This allows for the heat level to be changed depending on the type of metal because some require higher heat than others. The melting process can take as little as a few minutes or hours.
4 | Solidifying
After some additional purification methods, the metal is ready to be solidified. First, the facility may add some chemicals to the melted scrap to ensure the desired properties are attained. Then, the metal is sent down a conveyor belt and into cooling chambers to be solidified.
The facility will solidify some products into sheets and others into blocks. This way, the manufacturers can do what they want with the recycled scrap metal.
Finally, the metal is packed onto trucks and transported to its destination.
Need Some Assistance?
If you are unsure what scrap metals can be recycled, you can always ask your knowledgeable plumber from Flow Pros. Our team is happy to help you help our planet!
But, before you toss out the metal plumbing fixture you assume is not functioning correctly, schedule a regular maintenance appointment or repair service. We will assess the plumbing issue and ensure the fixture is no longer usable. So, reach out to Flow Pros today for any of your plumbing needs!