Updated: Mar 21
When we say ‘scrap metal’, you’d be forgiven if all that springs to mind are discarded washing machines and broken-down cars. Sure, those items needn’t be overlooked, but there’s a whole world of ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal out there.
There is no denying scrap metal’s versatility; it is a valuable resource that can be salvaged from a plethora of disused, broken or abandoned items, including automobiles, appliances and construction materials. Owing to its versatility and many benefits, scrap metal can be used again and again for a range of applications.
Whether it is recycled, repurposed, or refurbished, scrap metal is beneficial for countless reasons. Not only does it prevent waste and landfill, but it also means that fewer raw materials need to be mined to facilitate production.
Here at Newbury Recycling Ltd, we’re well aware of the many uses of scrap metal and are proud to provide a one-stop shop for all scrap metal services. If you’re wondering what scrap metal is used for, or whether it is worth recycling your metal waste, we’re here to help.
Read on to discover our guide to scrap metal and its many uses.
What Is Scrap Metal?
First things first, let’s start with the basics. If the term ‘scrap metal’ still has you scratching your head, don’t worry. Put simply, scrap metal is a term used to describe metals that have been left over from product manufacturing and consumption. Think vehicle parts, building supplies, home appliances and surplus materials used in various industries. Unlike waste, scrap often has monetary value, especially recovered metals, and non-metallic materials are also recovered for recycling.
Scrap metals can be divided into two main categories, ferrous and non-ferrous. The difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is that ferrous metals contain iron, whereas non-ferrous metals do not. Of course, it’s not quite this simple. Both ferrous and non-ferrous metals have their own unique properties, making them suitable for certain uses and unsuitable for others.
Types of scrap metal include:
● Aluminium Scrap
● Copper Scrap
● Brass Scrap
● Lead Scrap
● Stainless Steel Scrap
● Steel & Iron
The price of scrap metal varies depending on the condition, size, age and material of the scrap in question. Here at Newbury Recycling Ltd, we offer a range of scrap metal services such as metal analysis, metal grading services and scrap metal removal. We take the hassle out of scrap metal trading and ensure you get the best price.
What Can Scrap Metal Be Used For?
With a better understanding of the many types of scrap metal, let’s take a look at its uses. If you’re wondering why anyone would want old bits of metal, you may be surprised to discover how versatile it is. From the automotive industry to the world of modern art, metal scrap often lives many lives.
Below, we’ll explore some of the main uses for ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal. Moreover, we’ll detail the methods through which metal is recycled and repurposed.
Automotive & Transport
First on our list of scrap metal uses is the automotive and transport industry. Scrap and recycled metals are used across these industries for a range of purposes, including vehicle parts, train tracks, boats and roads.
For example, steel is commonly reused for train tracks owing to its high strength, durability and heat resistance. What’s more, statistics suggest that up to 75% of the aluminium ever made is still in productive use today! Who’d have thought that your old tin cans would be used for lightweight aeroplane bodies?
In addition to the many uses of scrap metal within the transport industries, it is also widely used in construction. Both commercial and residential construction projects make good use of recycled metal, favouring it for its cost, strength and versatility.
Scrap metals such as steel, copper, lead and brass are often used for roofing, ductwork, supporting beams, pipes and window frames!
Aside from its many practical applications within the construction and automotive industries, scrap metal is often utilised in the manufacture of home furnishings. From tables and chairs to lamps, light fittings, storage and bannisters, scrap metal is everywhere. If you were to look around your home or office, it is more than likely that multiple furnishings will be constructed from recycled metal.
Last but not least on our list of scrap metal uses is art. Who says that scrap metal has to be used for purely practical purposes? Art and sculptures are an important part of our culture and many creatives enjoy working with scrap metal to create unique and meaningful art. From ornaments and garden furniture to gallery installations and jaw-dropping sculptures, the possibilities are endless.
Take, for example, the artist Anthony Gormley. His sculptural work is renowned worldwide for its beauty and often utilises entirely recycled materials.
Recycling Scrap Metal
So, how, and why is scrap metal recycled? It’s no secret that global industries have taken a toll on the natural world; finding ways to reduce energy consumption and material extraction processes is essential if we are to exist sustainably. Utilising recycled material, in any form, is far more environmentally friendly than mining virgin metals. This is because it uses much less energy, produces less carbon dioxide and prevents waste material from being sent to landfill sites and polluting the earth.
More specifically, recycling metal is also economically beneficial; reusing materials help us to maintain a ‘circular economy’. In other words, recycling, reusing and refurbishing products and materials for as long as possible, to avoid the financial and environmental implications of mining, manufacture and disposal.
The process of metal recycling varies depending on the starting product. That said, understanding the basic premise is useful and interesting! The method is relatively simple and can be broken into the following stages: collection, sorting, reprocessing and manufacture.
As the name suggests, this stage in the process involves gathering disused metals from homes, businesses and production plants. Collection may be carried out by a local council or specialist recycling service such as ourselves. From here, the scrap metal will be taken to the recycling centre.
Alternatively, individuals or businesses may choose to take their scrap metal to a recycling centre.
Next, the metal is sorted in preparation for the reprocessing stages. Electromagnets are often used to separate ferrous and non-ferrous metals, whereas aluminium is separated using alternative methods.
Of course, the sorting process utilises multiple methods, but the above explanation covers the basics of this step.
Once sorted, bales of metal are brought to reprocessing plants. Here, they are shredded, de-coated and melted before being cast into ingots. These ingots are huge and can weigh hundreds of tonnes.
Finally, the large metal ingots are transferred to manufacturing plants across the country. Within these industrial spaces, they can be cast into a huge variety of new products. From cars and bicycles to planes, trains and packaging, the list is endless.
Newbury Recycling Ltd: Your Trusted Scrap Metal Dealers
Whether you run a business, manage an establishment or are simply looking for a means of responsibly disposing of your old metal, we’re here to help. Here at Newbury Recycling Ltd, we’re pleased to exist as your one-stop shop for scrap metal services in North Devon. We can help you to trade both ferrous and non-ferrous metals including scrap cars!
We’re proud to offer a wide range of recycling services to each and every customer. Our remit includes, but is not limited to, waste disposal, skip hire, recycling, hazardous material removal, scrap recycling and waste electrical handling. No matter your waste disposal requirements, a member of our friendly team will be able to point you in the right direction.
To discuss your needs with a member of our team, don’t hesitate to contact us.