Look in any Australian shed (or behind it) and you will often find what seems to be rubbish. Broken screen doors, old guttering, door knobs, even the kitchen sink. When it comes time to move house, oftentimes the whole lot ends up at the dump.
Scrap Metal is actually a commodity that can be recycled and repurposed to keep it out of landfill. Not only will recycling your scrap metal keep it out of landfill, it will also reduce the amount of rubbish you have to take to the dump, which can help cut down on your dumping fees.
When most people think of metal recycling they think of aluminium cans. Aluminium cans are the most common kind of metal recycled, but it takes many other forms as well. Window frames and wire screen doors are examples. Rather than paying to dump it, you can receive a bit of cash while doing a great service to the planet. Recycling aluminium can save up to 80% of the energy that was used to produce it from scratch.
Whitegoods are large metal items that are being replaced in Australian households everyday. As landfill, they take up a lot of room. Much better to strip Whitegoods down and recycle everything possible to minimise the impact on our environment. Scout Recycling Centres will accept Whitegoods and separate the parts as necessary to be recycled.
Car batteries need to be replaced in every Australian car periodically. They can’t be put in your regular garbage bin, and we certainly don’t want them in landfill. It’s important that car batteries are dealt with correctly as they can contain hazardous substances, which can cause environmental and safety hazards. Toxic materials can leach into the soil and it can be very costly and difficult to recover land that has been used for landfills to be safe for habitation again.
The Recycling Process
The first and most important step in the metal recycling process is collection. If we don’t collect the scrap metal, then the whole planet saving cycle never gets started. Facilities such as Scout Recycling Centres are set up as collection centres. If you have a lot of scrap, they will even pick it up from you. Scrap collectors accept and store the metals in scrap yards as well as actively go into the community and collect the metals from households and businesses.
After collection, sorting the metals is the next important step. Metals need to be sorted by type, for example aluminium, steel, copper, brass and iron. You are welcome, and in fact encouraged, to separate metals before taking them to a collection centre. But if it is too hard, or you are too busy, Scout Recycling Centres will do that separation for you.
Once separated, scrap metals are compacted to reduce the amount of space they take up, making trucking more efficient.
Before melting the compacted metal is shredded by a powerful machine. Metal recycling of smaller pieces uses much less energy to melt than large pieces.
Melting and purification:
Scrap metal is melted in a purpose-built furnace. While the melting processes uses considerable energy, it actually takes much less energy than it would take to make metal from raw material.
Purification ensures the final product is free from impurities and is of the highest quality. Some purification processes include electrolysis and separating using magnetic systems.
So why should we recycle metal?
Imagine if every bit of metal that was ever produced was never recycled. Earth would be overflowing with scrap metals as rubbish, possibly leaching toxic materials into waterways. Of course, the raw material that metal is made from is a finite resource. As we keep mining it, eventually it will run out. By recycling, we are extending our supply of metals for future generations, while reducing the damage to our planet.
We are lucky to live in a country where recycling is an important part of our everyday lives. It is the duty of every citizen to help keep Australia (and our planet) clean from rubbish, to be mindful of what we add to landfill and educate future generations on looking after our planet.