Metal recyclers and metal recycling companies process more than 81.4 million tons of iron and steel, 4.5 million tons of aluminum, 1.8 million tons of copper and 1.4 million tons of stainless steel annually.
Metal recycling businesses turn these otherwise wasted resources into the raw materials that fuel the country’s manufacturing supply chain, supporting the U.S. economy, global trade and contributing to resource sustainability.
Part of a $65 billion industry, metal recycling services handle ferrous metals, like steel and iron—the most recycled metals in United States—recovered from scrapped cars, appliances, buildings and bridges; non-ferrous metals—like copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, zinc, magnesium and lead—found in everything from building materials, to beverage containers, and in redundant electronic equipment; and precious metals, such as gold, silver and platinum, also found in electronic equipment and computers as well as in jewelry and other sources. Automotive catalytic converters also fall into this category.
Metal recycling services comprise a sophisticated industry employing tens of thousands of employees to process discarded metals into a viable economic commodity.
Metal goes from scrap to sold in a few steps:
- Collect discarded metal
- Separate the usable material
- Determine the fair market value and recycle the metal back into the economy
Find scrap metal...everywhere
Sources of salvageable metal include: manufacturers of metal products, transportation companies, construction sources, automotive sources, factories; mills, foundries, fabricators, farmers, government; hospitals; universities; schools; municipal collection programs, offices, stores, hotels and restaurants, the general public, the U.S. Armed Forces and utility companies. Precious metal recycling has emerged as a lucrative industry as consumers and businesses alike discard obsolete, yet precious metal-rich electronic equipment in record amounts.
Determine the best metal recycling solutions and equipment
As scrap and precious metals can be contaminated by a variety of debris including other metals and oils, metal recycling processing requires sorting, cutting and cleaning. Though equipment will vary based on the type of scrap handled by the metal recycling company, most metal recycling businesses dealing in ferrous metals will have a crane affixed with large magnets or grapples to lift and move the mostly magnetic scrap. All metal recyclers employ various baling presses, shears or shredders to render more manageable pieces and scales and conveyors to complete the process.
Know your market prices for recycled metal
Individual metal recyclers must determine a price that will be profitable for him or her. The scrap market can be volatile, and the prices of non-ferrous metals fluctuate more than ferrous metals.