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January 2012

How Is Scrap Metal Processed?

Have you ever sold scrap metal to a wrecking yard and wondered what happened to it? Or perhaps you’ve been thinking about selling some of your scrap and are curious about the recycling route? The first step that scrap undergoes once it is sold is known as processing.

Most wrecking yards are able to process both ferrous and nonferrous metals, although some will specialize in one kind or another. Ferrous scrap refers to iron and steel, whilst nonferrous scrap refers to all the other metals (such as aluminium, copper, brass, and so on). Part of the processing course involves separating these metals from each other.

There are some wrecking yards that will allow the general public in to buy items of use before they are sent to be compacted down. This generally occurs after the scrap has been sorted, making it easier for potential customers to locate the metals they are after.

Wrecking yards will generally sell their scrap based on the weight of the metal rather than the usefulness of the item. To a processor, the primary value of the metal lies in what the foundries will give them for it rather than the value of whatever shape the metal happens to be in.

Once the scrap has been sorted into its relevant categories (for example, into nonferrous metals and then into aluminium), it goes through a series of machines that are designed to shear, shred, torch and bale the scrap down into cube shapes. These cubes are then sold onto foundries that melt them down for use in new products.