Recycling has gotten increasing attention lately as some new technologies and strategies have been developed that promise to make recycling a much easier and more effective process. Nearly everyone living in the world today wants to help create less waste and make it easier to utilize materials and goods repeatedly if possible. This is why these new technologies are offering so much hope for the recycling sector as a whole.
Recycling offers many benefits besides the obvious reduction of waste in landfills. The ability to reduce and reuse has been proven to be very effective at creating a better environment and there are some materials and products that are hard to source without recycling to help take care of this need. Metal products are increasingly important for recycling processes for a variety of reasons.
If you are ready to learn more about how to bring your recyclable metal to drop off locations in Central Florida and why it is so important, read on!
Why You Should Bring Your Recyclable Metal to a Local Florida Drop-Off Locations
Recycling Metals offer three major benefits:
- Preserve natural resources
- Make the best use of raw materials
- Offsets carbon emissions
Metal materials comprise nearly 1/3 of the products that are in landfills today. In 2018, landfills received 10.5 million tons of steel. Just imagine if this steel could have been reused or could have been sorted more effectively during the recycling process! This is the current focus of many recycling companies as it becomes evident that metal wastes are burdening landfills.
Aluminum cans are some of the hardest items to net in automated recycling sorting processes, and new technologies have finally been developed that help capture these cans before they can slip through into landfills. This is an important process to have been developed as aluminum is hard to source compared to some other metals and there are so many soda cans that are heading into landfills when they should have been moved on to recycling.
Raw materials create carbon emissions when they are mined, and being able to recycle existing aluminum and other metals can cut back on these emissions. Natural resources are more strained than ever, so being able to recycle items that have already been extracted can help replenish the natural supplies of some items and also limit the depletion of resources that are growing limited.
Improved processes in the recycling world are helping to collect increased amounts of aluminum and precious metals as well as copper and lead for reuse. There are finite amounts of many of these resources available today, and the efforts of many recycling entities are focused on reducing waste when collecting these items while also making sure that these materials can be used again. The more metal material that is collected effectively, the less likely it is that the supply of important resources will completely run out.
How Does Recycling Work?
The process of recycling might seem a little mysterious. After all, you collect your items and then drop them into a bin and then head out to a plant somewhere. You never see the actual recycling process in action. This might make it seem mysterious and a bit foreign.
Recycling involves several steps and the same processes are done overall for everything from metal collection to cardboard and paper recycling.
This is the part that is familiar to almost everyone. You collect your recyclables throughout the week and then place them at the curbside in the correct bins or boxes. A truck comes by and picks them up and they are taken for processing.
During this stage of the process, the items that have been collected off the street are sorted, cleaned, and then processed into raw materials that can be used for recycling. These items are bought and sold around the world just like raw materials and prices and demand fluctuate throughout the year.
During this stage, the raw materials that have been created during the processing phase are used to make new items. These raw materials might not always turn back into the same goods that they were used to make before.
Some clothing is made from recycled plastics and aluminum soda cans might be turned into car parts. The primary items that are used in common manufacturing processes are recycled material that came from newspaper and regular paper recycling, steel from car parts and other metals, and plastic from toys and containers and laundry detergent bottles.
There are processes that also turn these raw products into materials that are used to pave roads and create carpets and things like park benches! There are very few limits on what recycled materials can be turned into, which makes the recycling process very important for the environment as well as supply processes around the world.
4. Recycled Products Are Sold
Once new products have been made from the recycled materials that were collected at your home, they go onto shelves and are sold to new consumers. This process closes the loop on the recycling circle. The items that you have bought at the store are almost always recycled products, at least in part, and when you are done with them, they will be recycled again.
How is Metal Recycling Different Than Regular Recycling, and How We Do it At Our Central, FL Drop Off Locations?
The same sorting process is done for metal recycling, but magnets are used to collect bits of metal that would otherwise slip through the process. Processes are completed that weigh each metal item and evaluate what metal it is for further sorting. These automatic sorting processes are done based on the colors of the metal and sometimes the weight and size of metal fragments.
Metals are shredded when they are processed into raw materials to help with the melting process. Shredding helps reduce the energy that is needed to melt the metal, making the process better for the environment and it saves energy.
Large furnaces are used to melt the metals by type. Each metal heads to its own furnace and is melted into virgin raw material. Some metal melting can take as little as a few minutes while other processes can take hours. The time frame involved is related to the type of metal that is being melted and the volume of the metal that is being turned into raw material.
Purification is done next and the metals are usually purified with electrolysis. The metals are then carried by a conveyor belt to cool them and they are formed into bars as they are cooling. The metal bars are what is transported after it is sold to factories and other kinds of businesses to be made into new items.
What Types of Metals Can be Dropped Off to be Recycled?
There are some metals that cannot be recycled, but many of the most commonly used metals can be. This is an area of increasing focus to reduce the damage to the environment that is done by mining processes and to create less waste in landfills that will not break down over time.
Nearly all metals are recyclable, although not all of them are in demand to meet manufacturing goals. The goal of recycling is always to try to recycle everything that can be recycled, but there are some metals that require more work to reduce to useful raw material.
The most commonly recycled item is metal cans, and these are the focal point for many recycling plants because they are easy to reuse and also because they tend to slip through the sorting process and there needs to be efforts made to capture these cans.
The metals that can be recycled are:
- Brass and bronze
- Cast iron
If you have any questions about whether a metal item can be recycled or not, you can usually reach out to your local recycling plant and ask or you can check out the EPA page to see if the item that you have is okay to recycle. Metals that cannot be recycled are:
- Radioactive metals
- Mercury or mercury-containing items
- Hazardous wastes which include metal
- Aerosol cans
- Cathode ray tubes
Other items that are not recyclable are precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. You will get the most value out of your gold and silver and platinum if you sell it to a jewelry store or sell it for raw materials through the proper channels.
Other Benefits of Recycling
There are more benefits to recycling than just reducing waste and creating new products. Recycling also creates new jobs and helps support the economy as well as industries that would otherwise have issues with sourcing raw materials.
The EPA has stated that the recycling industry creates 681,000 jobs annually and that these jobs generate $37.8 billion in wages. The recycling industry also created $5.5 billion in tax revenues. Their statistics show that 1.17 jobs are needed per 1,000 tons of recycled materials. This is $65.23 in wages for every ton of material that is recycled.
Recycling as an industry creates opportunities and monetary support for many people, industries, and other countries. The efforts to reduce waste and create raw materials that are needed all over the world can help with so many things besides the creation of raw materials for industries that generate new products.
Metal Processing Improvements
Recent improvements to technology are hopefully going to make it possible to capture and recycle nearly all of the metal that passes through recycling plants today. The 1/3 of metal products that are not recycled should hopefully be reduced to a much smaller number through these improvements and efforts.
Modern products are increasingly complex in shape and material mixing with these shapes can make it tough to capture these complicated items effectively. This is one of the challenges that is being corrected with improved sorting technologies and better analysis methods to verify whether items are metal or not. While it might seem like hand sorting would solve this issue, most of these items are far too large and the time involved is far too great if machines cannot take care of the sorting.
At this time, there are efforts being made to make sorting ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals more effective. Ferrous metals include iron and they are easy to pull from the other products that are being sorted with magnets. Improved metal detection processes are showing great success in sifting aluminum out of the larger batches of metal recycling as well.
Recovery of palladium, gold, silver, copper, lead, and other valuable metals requires the use of infrared scanning and x-ray. Not every plant has these solutions in place, but the cost to use them has continued to come down. Hopefully, this will become a basic requirement for all recycling plants in the future. These metals are finite in nature and we need to be trying to preserve as much of these materials as we can during processing and sorting.
Leading by Example
Major entities in the recycling world are undertaking the use of improved technologies to help guide the rest of the world in the proper sorting and processing tools that can make metal recycling much more effective. Each country has its own processes in place, but leadership by recycling companies and plants in the United States can help lead the way toward better recycling successes and processes across the world.
The more technology and improved processes that can be developed and tested in the United States, the more likely it is that these technologies can be shared with other countries. Recycling is a worldwide effort and the more new technologies that are developed all over the world, the more likely it is that recycling will come down in cost and take less energy to complete.
Recycling Metal Drop Off in Central Florida
GEL recycling takes pride in caring for the environment and creating less waste. We are the leading developer of new technologies in the recycling space as well as providing superior customer service to their local area. Use our drop-off locations to deliver materials and items to us that are large in size, could not be dropped off at other recycling locations, or include metal materials that are not accepted elsewhere. We offer construction services for this need as well so that no metal debris is missed.
Providing superior service and improving recycling processes is a major part of our identity. We are taking steps to make sure that we continue to take care of every need of our local Floridian customers while also looking to the future.