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Home / Articles / Celebrating America’s Recycle Day – An Introduction to Metal Recycling and Why Choose Metal Buildings!
Celebrating America’s Recycle Day
14Nov 2021Metal Buildings

Celebrating America’s Recycle Day – An Introduction to Metal Recycling and Why Choose Metal Buildings!

Celebrating America’s Recycle Day

America’s Recycling Day and Why it’s Important

November 15th is officially “America Recycles” Day, aka National Recycling Day. Are you ready to participate? In recent years, global nationalism has given way to global conservation, as citizens across the world join in preserving our most precious resources. From the Victorian-era dust collectors to the trendy zero-waste bloggers to the #BeRecycled, humanity is becoming more adept at reducing our footprint on our beloved planet. Of course, recycling is so much more than putting a bottle in the correct bin (though that’s a great place to start!). Let’s talk about how metal buildings can support your journey toward an eco-friendly lifestyle!

An Overview of Metal Recycling & Recycling Processes

1. Why Do We Recycle Metals?

Why do we recycle, you may ask? Isn’t it a lot of extra work and hassle? The benefits far outweigh the inconvenience! Industry advocates recycle metal for both financial and environmental reasons. First, metal is valuable! Steel, even scrap, can be recycled again and again. This cuts down on industrial waste and increases resource efficiency.

Secondly, the environment benefits from reusing materials. By recycling metal, we are preserving natural resources and requiring fewer raw materials. It saves money, both for the manufacturer and the consumer, to recycle metal, rather than to manufacture a new product. Recycling also emits less carbon dioxide.

2. Types of Metals Recycled

There are two main types of recyclable metals: ferrous or non-ferrous. Ferrous material is a metal combination of iron and carbon. You are probably familiar with several common varieties of ferrous materials, such as wrought iron, cast iron, and steel alloy.

Examples of non-ferrous materials are copper, lead, tin, and zinc (which are used in the galvanizing process). Precious metals are also non-ferrous; fold, platinum, silver, and palladium.

3. The Metal Recycling Process

The main stages of the metal recycling process are as follows:

• Collection

Collecting metal is different from collecting bottles or cardboard. Scrap metal has a much higher value and is more likely to be sold to a scrapyard than thrown into a landfill. Most scrap metal is found in vehicles that are no longer in use, but other sources of recyclable metal are older steel structures, disused railroad tracks, ships, and machinery. Some scrap is created during manufacturing, and this is known as “prompt scrap.” It accounts for approximately half the scrap metal supply.

• Sorting

Once scrap metal has been collected, it must be correctly sorted before it can be processed. The quality of the metal is an essential part of this step. A strict quality control is used during sorting. If metal is surrounded by other materials, like plastic, it may still be worth recycling, but it must be separated from the other materials. For example, a three-ring binder cannot be recycled as a whole, but its rings may be recycled.

• Processing

Once the metal is sorted, it must be shredded and compacted. Shredding is done to promote the efficiency of the melting process. Then, the materials are compacted to reduce space on the conveyor. Aluminum is often recycled into sheets, and steel is usually crafted into blocks.

• Melting

The next step in the metal recycling process is melting, which takes place in an enormous furnace specifically designed for a particular metal and its properties. Melting requires a great deal of energy; however, it is far less energy than is required to create new metal from raw resources. Depending on the metal, the melting process can take a few minutes or several hours.

• Purification

The purification step is vital to the quality of the finished product. The recycled metal is purified of all contaminates and checked for impurities. There are several methods of purification, including electrolysis and magnetic systems. The purification method depends on which metal is being recycled.

• Solidifying

After purification, the molten metal is carried, by conveyor, to a different chamber. There, it will be cooled and made into a solid again. Sometimes, other chemicals are added to the scrap to encourage density. While it is cooling, the metal is often formed into the desired shape and size.

• Transportation of the Metal Bars

Once the recycled metal is shaped, cooled, and packaged, it’s ready to begin a new life!

Did You Know? Quick Metal Recycling Facts

Although almost every kind of metal can be recycled again and again without degradation of properties, in 2018, only 34% of metal in U.S. municipal waste facilities was recycled. Below are some additional facts:

• Steel (and iron) are the most recycled products in the world! Efforts to reduce waste have focused on reclaiming and reusing old metal structures. Technological advances in the magnetic sorting process have enabled more efficient recycling and created a lucrative scrap market.

• In 2019, almost 500 million (30%) of the 1,532.51 million metric tons of crude steel produced worldwide was made using recycled materials.

• In the U.S., 2.2 million tons of steel cans and other steel packaging waste were generated in 2018. But, in 2019, 69% of crude steel in the United States was made of recycled materials. We are becoming more environmentally conscious!

• The single most recycled container in the world is the aluminum can. Did you know? Recycling a single aluminum can save enough energy to power a 100-watt light bulb for nearly four hours.

Why You Should Choose Metal Buildings

Metal buildings are incredibly cost-effective! They are more affordable initially, both in materials, labor, and construction time. Metal buildings are also more efficient long-term. Steel structures require very little maintenance, are more energy-efficient than traditionally stick-built structures, and last for decades.

• Metal buildings are very eco-friendly. Steel is 100% recyclable, and metal buildings are pre-engineered on the factory floor to eliminate waste at the construction site.

• Steel buildings produce fewer emissions when during construction. Wooden structures using pressure-treated wood leech toxic chemicals into the ground and air for years. Steel is made without any toxic chemicals!

• Metal buildings are approximately 30% more energy efficient than traditional buildings. They require a minimum of insulation, and since they last much longer than wooden structures, the savings increase!

• If your house was constructed using pine, the average home requires 22 full grown pine trees just for the frame. That’s a huge carbon footprint.

• Once the lumber is used, it can't be recycled. You can plant a new tree, and wait years for it to grow, but you can't reuse a tree you've cut down. Mishandled lumber will have to be burned or thrown away, resulting in waste and greenhouse gases. This is where steel buildings have a significant advantage!

• Steel is the most recycled product in the world! If a single panel is damaged, it’s never thrown away. Steel can be melted down and used again!

Coast to Coast Carports is the Best for You & the Planet

Coast to Coast Carports provides the very best in metal buildings. That’s right! The very best! Our customer service, prices, and quality are unequaled anywhere in the industry! We are committed to protecting our planet by engineering energy-efficient structures. Call today at (866) 681-7846, and begin your journey toward a more environmentally friendly lifestyle with Coast to Coast Carports!

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