When you recycle scrap metal, you give the metal to the people at the yard. Here, they will weigh and categorize it, and then they pay you. But what happens after that? As far as you're concerned, the transaction is done, but the metal you just dropped off truly does go through recycling in a couple of different ways. In fact, depending on what you do, you may want to stay and see what the yard has. If your business or hobby requires metal, you could be a part of the recycling cycle a second time.
For Metal, Recycling Includes Both Melting and Selling
Recycling metal includes both melting the metal down and selling it back to manufacturers, and selling the non-melted metal to others who need to buy some, such as sculptors and other metalworkers. The metal goes through an evaluation and sorting process no matter its destination, and then it can be sold to people who want to buy sheet or scrap metal. The variety available each day will change, but if you use certain types of metal in your art, for example, scrap yards are great places to score some deals. At these places, you can drop off and sell old steel and then see if any copper is available for things like art gigs, jewelry-making hobbies, car restoration businesses, and so on.
Cleaning up and Scraping Off
All metal that comes into the yard is cleaned up to an extent. Labels and stickers are removed and areas of obvious dirt cleaned up. The metal won't necessarily look great, but it will be clean enough to avoid contaminating any blocks once it is melted and cooled in molds. Much of the metal is then shredded.
Melted and Re-formed Blocks Sold to Manufacturers
When the metal has been cleaned and all stickers or labels removed, the pieces are sorted, purified, and melted down. The resulting blocks or hunks of metal are sold back to manufacturers. If you have been looking for blocks of metal, by the way, ask the scrap yard — if they do the melting and cooling on-site — if they sell those blocks to the public.
The cost of metals changes each day, and sometimes each hour. That greatly affects how much you can receive if you sell scrap metal to a recycling yard, as well as how much you'd spend if you tried to buy other scrap metal there. Check with the yard the day you plan to bring in the metal to find out their prices for that day. You might want to monitor metal prices for a couple of weeks or a month before going in, just so you can see the patterns for each type of metal. Contact a scrap metal recycling service to learn more.