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Where Do Metals Go After Recycling?

Where Do Metals Go After Recycling?


"Out of sight, out of mind." That is the attitude most of us adopt when it comes to getting rid of our trash. We fill up our trashcans, they get picked up and it's the last we have to think about that garbage.


At least, that was how it went down before recycling. When it became clear that our landfills wouldn't be able to keep up with the amount of trash we throw out, then something had to give. Along came this idea of recycling. The official motto of a recycling program is "recycle, repurpose, reuse." How does that apply to metal?

Ferrous vs. Non-Ferrous

When metal is dropped off at a proper recycling facility, it is sorted between ferrous and non-ferrous metals, otherwise known as valuable and not so valuable. Ferrous metals are anything made out of steel or iron. These are the most common and least valuable. At the other end of the scale are metals like copper, aluminum, brass and bronze, which are considered to be more valuable metals.


The Great Meltdown

So, what happens to your metal after it is dropped off? First, it will be sorted. Things like aluminum cans are shredded and then the color coating is removed. After that, the aluminum is melted down to a liquid state. Steel is also melted down in a "stew" of iron ore and limestone. Once the metal is molten, it is poured into molds. Basically, these are blocks of the metal or ingots. Those ingots are then shipped off to manufacturing sites to be melted again and poured into specific molds for specific products.

Metal Recycling By The Numbers

Here are the facts about metal recycling that should inspire you to keep recycling:

• Two-thirds of all aluminum cans in the U.S. are made from recycled metal.
• Steel food cans contain at least 25% recycled metal.
• Recycling one ton of steel saves on 2,500 pounds or iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.

Not every piece of metal gets recycle. Yet, even with a recovery rate of 35% you're still helping the environment. Imagine if you could remove 4.5 million cars from the roads for one year. That is the reduction of greenhouse gases you can achieve at the 35% recovery rate.

Just about anywhere metal is used you'll find recycled metal making up part of the equation. From start to finish, it takes around 60 days for a recycled aluminum can to make it back on the shelf as new can. That's mighty impressive. Bottom line: We should all keep sorting our recyclables. As for anything that can't fit in your recycle bin, turn that over to Junk King. They'll make sure it gets recycled, repurposed and reused the right way!

Where Do Metals Go After Recycling?


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