Scrap metal is divided into two types: ferrous and nonferrous. Ferrous scrap is scrap iron and steel. This includes scrap from old cars, household appliances, steel beams, railroad tracks, ships, and food packaging and other containers.
Nonferrous scrap metal is scrap metal other than iron and steel. Examples of nonferrous scrap include aluminium (including foil and cans), copper, lead, zinc, nickel, titanium, cobalt, chromium, and precious metals.
Although there is less nonferrous scrap than ferrous scrap, it is often worth more financially. Millions of tonnes of nonferrous scrap metal are recovered by processors and consumed by secondary smelter, refiners, ingot makers, fabricators, foundries, and other industries.
At Xtreme Waste we collect a large amount of scrap metal so it can be recovered and used again.
Scrap metal, ferrous and nonferrous, can be categorized as either "home scrap" or "purchased scrap."
Home scrap is scrap generated at the mill, refinery, or foundry, and is generally re-melted and used again at the same plant. Home scrap never leaves the plant.
Steel scrap is essential in the process of making new steel and can be recycled indefinitely without loosing its quality. Due to its magnetic properties it is easy to recover, even from unsorted waste.
Aluminium foil, laminates (eg crisp packets) will oxidise in an incinerator and release energy similar to coal. Aluminium cans will usually melt and when cooled, can be separated from the bottom ash.
Purchased scrap represents the fractions of the metals that need to be collected before they can be recycled. Large goods eg vehicles and fridges have historically been collected by scrap metal merchants owing to the value of the metal recovered. New legislation regarding the recycling of fridges and of end-of-life vehicles is changing the specific role of the metals recyclers in the collection and processing of these goods but their importance in recovering the metal components has not changed.
Electronics recyclers are playing a bigger role in an economy in which waste electronics form an increasingly large part, not least because of new legislation.