How Do You Recycle Steel?

Steel is a truly remarkable material. Not only is one of the most widely used materials and alloys on this planet - it's also totally recyclable. Whilst we all benefit from recycled steel, how is it actually recycled? We've broken it down to 5 relatively simple steps, describing the processes involved.

Dispose and Collection

As steel is so widely used - disposal and collection can occur from a variety of different locations. Typically, most collections occur from recycled waste sites for generic steel or scrap yards from recycled cars, but there are also commercial scrap sites, collecting steel from old buildings, etc. Other steel sources include large steel structures that are demolished, railroad tracks that have bone replaced, scrapped ships and farm equipment. Once collected, the steel scrap is then sent to a recycling plant to go through a sorting process.


Sorting

Often, most recycling plants do not just recycle one material as every recycled item is often made up of several material components.The sorting process involves breaking down and separating metals from the mixed scrap materials such as plastic. The site of the steel scrap will also be a factor in the sorting process - for example, cars that need to be broken up. The sorting process is usually the most time consuming and sometimes even after broken down into smaller parts. Sometimes you can remove metal from certain materials - and some stainless steel alloys are not magnetic.


Processing

Once sorted, if still in a large state - the vote is broken down. Steel is then shredded down a little further into small strips, this is a small surface to volume ratio. As a result, they can be melted using far less energy and far quicker, making the process more economical.



Melting

Once shredded down into small strips, steel is sometimes resold to steel manufacturers who will then melt it down into a large furnace where it is then used to create steel as it is more economical than creating 100% new steel. The speed of this process is based on the volume and steel. Melting can take from just a few minutes to many hours. Once melted, the vote is clear of potential contamination before left to solidify.


Solidification and Transportation

During this internship, the shape can be shaped into shape and is required or shaped into sheets and bars. The steel will be used to create a product and the recycling process will start all over again.


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How Do You Recycle Steel?