2nd Jan, 2017
The act of refining metal has gotten a lot more sophisticated over the years, and no sector feels those benefits more than the recycling industry. Typically, scrap metals have a much lower melting point than ore (or ‘virgin) metals, meaning that there’s a lot less energy used in the manufacturing process. This in turn protects our environment by minimising fuel expenditure, providing us with pretty tangible economic savings along the way!
Our technological advances in metal refinement have also yielded some other major benefits – using specialised techniques, scrap metal can be made even stronger than it was before, allowing it to last even longer. For example, an electric arc furnace is a relatively new and sophisticated piece of machinery that can be fed 100% scrap steel, making it stronger and more durable in the process. This increases its usefulness for creating products like higher quality tools or things like supporting structural beams – for use in construction – or heavy-duty shipping containers.
Copper is an excellent example of a scrap metal that has almost limitless uses (which is one of the reasons why it is so frequently stolen). Some of the benefits are even more left field – did you know that scrap metal can purify industrial wastewater? Engineers have worked out how to use scrap iron to attract, degrade and detoxify toxic compounds. Not only that, but the same team that made this initial discovery have also developed a way to improve municipal wastewater treatment using similar methods.
Recycled metal harvested from scrap car dealers and car breaker’s yards also plays a vital part in the transport industry. Cars are one of the world’s most recycled products, with millions recycled each year. Increased public awareness – from people just like you – in recent years has further fuelled the industry, and laws and guidelines from the UK government and European Union have pushed the industry even further into the spotlight (the EU now requires that 95% of scrap cars are recycled).
Metal like steel and aluminium from scrap cars often goes on to be used in the creation of brand new ones. But aluminium, due to its lightweight nature, is also invaluable in the manufacture of aircraft, as it plays a role that can’t be filled by heavier metals like iron or steel. As well as building the vehicles directly, scrap metal is also widely used in maintaining the infrastructure, for example in building new train tracks (or replacing worn ones).
You might not realise how much scrap metal you already have in your home. Appliances like fridges and dishwashers use scrap metals like aluminium as a crucial component – which, incidentally, also makes them much cheaper to manufacture, again benefitting our economy directly. Meanwhile, food packaging such as tin cans are often made from 100% recyclable materials. In fact, the advances in our worldwide recycling industry are especially apparent when it comes to using tin cans as an example – in as little as two months after its disposal, scrap metal can appear back on supermarket shelves in the form of another product or container. That’s quick work!
Scrap metal is also seeing increased usage in artistic and creative pursuits. Some artists are making a tidy profit purchasing it for use in ornamental or decorative sculptures, while others are building practical home furnishings like clocks, chairs or even lamps.
Given how ubiquitous metal is in our day-to-day lives, it’s only natural that we should develop such innovative ways of using and re-using it. It would be impossible to list them all in such a brief blog, so we’ll have to leave some of them to your imagination!
At Scrap Car Network, we provide a nationwide service, so no matter where you are in the UK, you can be sure that we’ll know a trusted scrap car dealer near you. Give us a call on 0300 100 0027, or simply enter your details onto our website to get an instant quote!