The main stages of the metal recycling process are as follows:

1. Collection

The collection process for metals differs than that for other materials because of higher scrap value.

Other sources include large steel structures, railroad tracks, ships, farm equipment, and of course, consumer scrap. Prompt scrap, which is created in the course of new product manufacturing, accounts for one-half of ferrous scrap supply.

2. Sorting

Sorting involves separating metals from the mixed scrap metal stream or the mixed multi-material waste stream. In automated recycling operations, magnets and sensors are used to aid in material separation.

At the entrepreneurial level, scrappers may employ a magnet, as well as to observe the material color or weight to help determine the metal type. For example, aluminum will be silver and light. Other important colors to look for are copper, yellow (for brass) and red, for red brass. Scrappers will improve the value of their material by segregating clean metal from the dirty material.

3. Processing

To allow further processing, metals are shredded. Shredding is done to promote the melting process as small shredded metals have a large surface to volume ratio.

As a result, they can be melted using comparatively less energy. Normally, aluminum is converted into small sheets, and steel is changed into steel blocks.

4. Melting

Scrap metal is melted in a large furnace. Each metal is taken to a specific furnace designed to melt that particular metal. A considerable amount of energy is used in this step.

Still, as mentioned above, the energy required to melt and recycle metals is much less than the energy that is needed to produce metals using virgin raw materials. Based on the size of the furnace, the degree of heat of the furnace and volume of metal, melting can take from just a few minutes to hours.

5. Purification

Purification is done to ensure the final product is of high quality and free of contaminants. One of the most common methods used for purification is Electrolysis.

6. Solidifying

After purification, melted metals are carried by the conveyor belt to cool and solidify the metals. In this stage, scrap metals are formed into specific shapes such as bars that can be easily used for the production of various metal products.

7. Transportation of the Metal Bars

Once the metals are cooled and solidified, they are ready to use. They are then transported to various factories where they are used as raw material for the production of brand new products.

When the products made of these metal bars come to the end of their useful life, the metal recycling process cycles again.

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