The recycling of metals is contributing significantly to environmental and manufacturing health in Australia, ensuring that public spaces are protected from disposed debris that would otherwise have caused serious health risks for the community. Because almost every type of metal has the ability to be recycled and reused, throwing it away is a direct contribution to the amount of solid waste piling up and polluting our planet.
The use of scrap metal results in fewer natural resources being used to process, treat, and manufacture new metal items. Based on our research and experience in the treatment of metal waste, Western Australia’s AusCon has put together a metal recycling guide that will help you better understand how to deal with unwanted materials.
What Am I Working With?
The first thing you want to do when recycling metal is figure out exactly what type of material you have. This is as simple as categorising it between steel and aluminium, which can be done by using a magnet. If your magnet sticks, it’s a ferrous metal like iron or steel. If it doesn’t, you’re working with a non-ferrous metal such as aluminium, brass, bronze, or copper.
Below is a detailed guide on recycling a few common types of metals:
Contrary to popular belief, tin cans are actually 95% steel and only 5% tin. The tin part of the can is only a thin layer on the outside, serving as a protective agent against rusting. In order to recycle tin cans, you must first ‘de-tin’ the can with a process known as electrolysis – a caustic chemical solution that strips the exterior. The tin substance is then collected and melted into an ingot or metal cast.
Now that you know how to identify steel with a magnet, you’re ready to learn about common recycling techniques. The best advice we can give you is to trade your steel scrap without damaging the exterior of the item, as you will receive more money for materials left intact. Recycled steel can be used in many applications, often forming new parts on vehicles and boats.
Most commonly used for beverage cans, aluminium can be found in a variety of objects such as gutters, window frames, doors, and roofing. It’s a material with well-known bendability and a natural white-silver finish – sometimes covered with paint. Requiring 95% less energy than other metals to recycle, aluminium is most commonly turned into small chips though a process called ‘shredding’ before being smelted.
Most of us can identify copper by its reddish colour when still in a reasonable condition, otherwise being slightly darker and brown if worn out and even green when suffering corrosion. While it’s mainly used for wiring, only quality copper can be recycled, transforming the material into ingots or billets once melted.
Looking for a Scrap Metal Collector?
AusCon operates the only familyowned scrap metal shredder in Western Australia, with state-of-the-art mobile machinery that allows us to process and handle a variety of metal scraps. Learn more about this service on our website or from a friendly consultant on (08) 9497 1340.