How is Steel Recycled Step by Step?

by Greenway Metal Recycling | Oct 19, 2021

Are you interested in scrap metal recycling but do not know much about it? Here’s how it works and why you’d want to know more.

There is an economic benefit to recycling metals, which is why many people look into recycling it. Stainless steel is one of the more valuable metals. Beyond the financial incentive, it can also provide our Earth with environmental benefits by reusing metals that have already been processed.

Why Recycle Steel?

The most popular type of metal recycled at scrap metal yards is stainless steel, also referred to as steel scrap.

That is because it can be recycled completely to create new steel without extracting raw ore from the ground. Extraction is costly and can harm the environment. On the other hand, recycling is an efficient way to make new products. Plus, it has a positive environmental impact.

How is Steel Recycled Step by Step?

The following guide outlines the basic steps to the steel recycling process.

1. Steel Collection

The first step to steel recycling is the collection process. When recycling scrap steel, there are many different pieces of metal that you can collect, from tiny pieces to large, cumbersome pieces. You can recycle anything made from scrap steel, including shredded metal, stainless steel cans, and even a kitchen sink!

In the collection step, you gather any materials that you can that are made of metal. It is a good idea to have containers for the various metal types that you are collecting. There are also containers you can find that are made specifically for metal collecting.

Commercial and industrial companies can work with a scrap yard to organize, collect, and pick up materials. That’s what we do at Greenway Metal Recycling as Chicago scrap metal dealers.

2. Sorting

The next important step in the steel recycling process is sorting. Once you have collected your metal, you will want to sort it. Separate pieces that are recyclable from other scraps that, upon closer inspection, cannot be recycled.

Some metals may be too corroded to be recycled; however, some corrosion is usually okay. Not all metal has to be high quality, but you will receive more money for better quality metal.

You will also receive higher scrap metal prices by separating metal from other materials. For example, some wire is coated in a rubber insulator. You will get paid more for your metal if you separate it from the non-metal casing before bringing it in.

A general rule is that recycled products need to be made up of 50 percent metal to be recycled.

3. Processing

After sorting, the next step is to process the metal. In this step, the metal is squeezed and compacted using heavy-duty machines. That way, the material does not take up too much room on the conveyor belt.

4. Shredding

After the metal is crushed, the shredding process can begin. The steel materials are broken into small pieces or sheets to allow for further processing.

The smaller pieces allow for the metal to be melted more easily. The good news is that it requires less energy than it would take to melt larger pieces. This is a perfect example of one of the environmental benefits this process utilizes.

5. Melting and Purification

Next, the melting process using a large furnace at high temperatures. The furnace heats up the metal to its boiling point and melts it.

6. Purification

After the metal is melted, the final step is purification. The metals are purified using various methods. That ensures that the final product is high quality and free from impurities.

7. Solidifying the Metal

The molten metal then gets carried by the conveyor belt and placed into a cooling chamber. There, it can cool and solidify. This is the stage where the scrap metal is turned into solid metal that can be molded and shaped to be reused.

8. Transporting the Metal Bars

After the metal bars have been formed, the final product is packed up to be transported to different factories. Now the metal is ready to be turned into new products.

Chicago Scrap Metal Dealers

At Greenway Metal Recycling, 100% of scrap metal becomes new products. We take many different types of recyclable metals, including ferrous and nonferrous metals. We also offer a free recycling audit as well as regular or as-needed pickups. Give us a call to learn more.

Read Next: Benefits of a Free Scrap Metal Audit

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