Ferrous Metal vs. Non-Ferrous Metal
Scrap metal is divided into two types: ferrous and nonferrous. Ferrous scrap metal consists of scrap iron and steel. This type includes scrap from old cars, household appliances, steel beams, railroad tracks, ships, food packaging and other containers. Ferrous scrap metal accounts for the largest volume of metal scrapped world-wide.
Nonferrous scrap metal is scrap metal other than iron and steel. Nonferrous scrap metal includes aluminum, which includes foil and cans, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, titanium, cobalt, chromium, and precious metals. While the volume of non-ferrous scrap metal is less then ferrous scrap, it is more valuable by the pound then ferrous scrap metal.
Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling
In the United States alone, scrap metal processors handle vast quantities of non-ferrous scrap metal yearly. It is estimated that U.S scrap yards process approximately:
- 1.5 million tons of copper scrap annually
- 2.5 million tons of aluminum scrap annually
- 1.3 million tons of lead scrap annually
- 300,000 tons of zinc scrap annually
Furthermore all metals, including both ferrous and non-ferrous can be recycled indefinitely without loosing any of their properties, an attractive feature to many scrap metal processors. The ever-increasing value of non-ferrous metals from aluminum to exotic metal shavings has resulted in the need for specialized baling equipment. Harmony Enterprises can provide the appropriate solution for any size enterprise from small metal-fabricating firms to large-scale industrial production facilities.
Benefits to Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling
The use of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals has continued to increase over the years. The amount of aluminum in production alone is astonishing. It is estimated that world primary production of aluminum is around 24 million tons on average per year, of which Australia is the largest producer. With metal production in general on the rise, and the valuable resources necessary for their production dwindling, it is more important then ever to find ways to find further value out of scrap metal reuse.
Whereas plastic packaging may cause difficulties in the recycling process due to its disparate nature and need to separate it into its different types – metal packaging recycling is simpler. As the ferrous and non-ferrous components can be separated using magnets one large problem of identification is solved.
Additionally the recovery of non-ferrous metals for recycling provides both environmental and economic benefits.
- Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling frees space.
- Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling creates a safer work environment.
- Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling results in less pollution, greater energy savings, and is overall more environmentally friendly.
- Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling creates additional employment opportunities.
- Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling provides additional materials for reuse in manufacturing.
- Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling is a source of revenue.
- Non-Ferrous Metal Recycling encourages the development of additional markets.
Produced from bauxite, aluminum is a clay-like ore that is rich in aluminum compounds. Aluminum is only found as a compound called alumina, which is a hard material consisting of aluminum combined with oxygen. In order to free the aluminum, the alumina has to be stripped of its oxygen, and dissolved in a molten salt at a reduction plant after which a powerful electric current is run though the liquid to separate the aluminum from the oxygen. This process uses large quantities of energy. One of the most cost-effective materials to recycle, aluminum recycling requires a lot less energy then aluminum production. In fact recycling aluminum requires only 5% of the energy and produces only 5% of the CO2 emissions as compared with primary production, all while reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. An additional added bonus is that aluminum can be recycled indefinitely, as reprocessing does not damage its structure.
All other non-ferrous metals, though often present in smaller quantities can be recycled as well. These metals which include nickel, copper, silver, gold, lead, and brass are heavily relied on by specific industries, such as the Electronic and Technology Industry. Due to their recognized value, smaller quantities of these metals are in circulation and their ability to be recycled is often neglected when people dispose of these items.
Baling Non-Ferrous Metals
The non-ferrous metal recycling process begins by gathering bulky non-ferrous metals, such as clippings from industrial manufacturing process, aluminum beverage cans, and obsolete scrap, and baling these materials into various sized blocks of bales. Front-end loaders and conveyors, along with other waste handling equipment are utilized to feed the bulky materials into the baler.
There are wide variety of baler types for aluminum scrap and can recycling. Some balers, such as the T60XDRC are designed to compress bulky materials at a very high pressure, into dense, uniformly sized bales, which are able to be efficiently remelted by our customers. Other balers like the M60STD are designed to compress bulky material at lower pressure into bigger, less dense, uniformly sized bales, able to be more efficiently stored and transported to consumers who require certain material delivered in this form.
Actual bale weights of non-ferrous metal vary greatly depending upon the type of material being baled, and actual size and configurations of the non-ferrous baler itself. Below you will find some common loose and baled weights of non-ferrous metal and various other materials.
|Type of Material||Loose||Baled|
|Cardboard||50 – 100 lbs/cy||600 – 1100 lbs / cy|
|PET (Soda bottles, food packaging etc)||30 – 40 lbs / cy||200–500 lbs / cy|
|HDPE (Milk Jugs, Detergent Containers etc)||22 – 25 lbs / cy||200 – 500 lbs / cy|
|Aluminum Cans||50 – 75 lbs / cy||150–500 lbs / cy|
|Steel Cans||150 – 175 lbs / cy||500 – 1,000 lbs / cy|
|Paper||500– 600 lbs / cy||1,000 – 1,200 lbs / cy|
|Newspaper||350 – 500 lbs / cy||750 – 1,000 lbs / cy|