Scrap is a term used to describe recyclable materials left over from every manner of product consumption (such as parts of vehicles, building supplies, and surplus materials). Often confused with waste, scrap in fact has monetary value and is one of the United States’ largest exports.
Overall, the scrap industry processes more than 145 million tons of recyclable material each year into raw material feedstock for industrial manufacturing around the world. The industry contributed $65 billion in 2006 and is one of the few contributing positively to the U.S. balance of trade, exporting $15.7 billion in scrap commodities in 2006. Scrap recycling also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserves energy and natural resources. For example, scrap recycling diverts 145 million tons of materials away from landfills. Recycled scrap is a raw material feedstock for 2 out of 3 pounds of steel made in the U.S., for 60% of the metals and alloys produced in the U.S., for more than 50% of the U.S. paper industry’s needs, and for 33% of U.S. aluminum.
Recycled scrap helps keep air and water cleaner by removing potentially hazardous materials and keeping them out of landfills.
Scrap is often taken to a wrecking yard (known colloquially as a scrapyard), where it is processed for later melting into new products. A scrapyard (also known as a breaker's yard), depending on its location, may allow customers to browse their lot and purchase items before they are sent to the smelters although many scrap yards that deal in large quantities of scrap usually do not, often selling entire units such as engines or machinery by weight with no regard to their functional status. Customers are typically required to supply all of their own tools and labor to extract parts, and some scrapyards may first require waiving liability for personal injury before entering. Many scrapyards also sell bulk metals (stainless steel, etc) by weight, often at prices substantially below the retail purchasing costs of similar pieces.
In contrast to a wreckers, scrapyards typically sell everything by weight, rather than by item. To the scrapyard, the primary value of the scrap is what the smelter will give them for it, rather than the value of whatever shape the metal may be in. An auto wrecker, on the other hand, would price the exact same scrap based on what the item does, regardless of what it weighs. Typically, if a wrecker can not sell something above the value of the metal in it, they would then take it to the scrapyard and sell it by weight. Equipment containing parts of various metals can often be purchased at a price below that of either of the metals, due to saving the scrapyard the labor of separating the metals before shipping them to be recycled. As an example, a scrapyard in Arcata, California sells automobile engines for $0.25 per pound, while aluminum, of which the engine is mostly made, sells for $1.25 per pound.
Note that in the scrap metal industry a great potential exists for accidents in which a hazardous material present in scrap causes death, injury or environmental damage. A classic example is radioactivity in scrap; see the Goiânia accident for an example of an accident involving radioactive material which entered the scrap metal industry and some details of the behavior of contaminating chemical elements in metal smelters. The general nature of many of the tools used in scrapyards such as Alligator shear, which cut metal using hydraulics give themselves the need for safety.
Scrap metal recycling service nationwide!
- Orkut Scraps
- Recyclable waste
- Ship breaking
- Metal theft