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Can You Recycle Rusted Metals?

Do you have old car components that have been sitting outside for a while? Perhaps you have old, worn-down fencing or piping? In any case, you likely have a large heap of rusted out scrap metal on your hands.

So if you’re asking yourself – can rusted metal be recycled? The answer is generally “yes”.

Rust is a common name for a chemical compound known as iron oxide. This compound forms when iron reacts with water and oxygen, presenting itself as a rough, orange-red substance.

Rust can be removed from metal using household products like lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar and steel wool, or you can purchase chemicals to remove it. You can also coat metals ahead of time to prevent rusting.

If rust is left untreated, it can corrode through all the metal in your products and create holes, which will weaken the strength of these products. You probably wouldn’t want to sit in a chair or ride a bike with holes in the frame.

 

Rust and Recycling

When iron is first extracted from the earth, it is in an oxidized form known as ore. The smelting process involves breaking any bonds created by oxygen and iron so it can be refined into metals like steel. To recycle rusted metal, you need to remove the oxygen again.

In the recycling process for steel, the material is shredded and then melted to create new sheets of metal. If the rust is simply melted, it will re-form once the metal cools. That’s why the recycling process also includes purification, where elements like carbon can be added to bond with the oxygen and free the iron. This also removes other impurities like ink or dried paint.

Most scrap metal yards will pay you by weight, and metal with severe rust damage will weigh less. Scrap metal accepted for recycling must be a majority made of metal, so if your product is half-metal and half-plastic and the metal corrodes away, it likely won’t be accepted as scrap metal.

 

Tips for Recycling Rusted Metal

If you’re cleaning out a garage or shed filled with metal, you’ll likely find plenty of metal products to recycle. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Coat any metals that are outside (e.g., fences, lawn furniture) to prevent rust in the first place.
  • For reusable products (such as bicycles) with surface rust, use a natural product to remove rust and donate the product to a secondhand store or charity.
  • If you have products with rust holes or other major rust damage, call a scrap recycler to confirm whether or not the product is recyclable before transporting it or arranging pickup.

If you have any scrap metal on your hands – rusted or not, get in touch with Manville Recycling today for a quote. Or, if you’re unsure whether your rusted metal is recyclable, contact us and we’ll advise you the best we can.

 

 

scrap metal toronto

15 Noteworthy Facts on Metal Recycling

Here’s an interesting fact: recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours. And while it can be a simple task to just throw your aluminum can into the recycling bin, chances are you haven’t considered the actual numbers and figures you are contributing to when it comes to scrap metal recycling. Most scrap metal is collected from old steel structures, cars, appliances, ships, railroads, factories, waste electronics and other sources that contain metal in some way. Scrap metal gets processed in factories where they melt it down to commodity grade material that is used to produce new products. There are plenty of noteworthy facts on metal recycling to discover.

Here are 15 interesting facts on metal recycling.

  1. Metal recycling is good for the national economy and the environment e.g. increased local employment and reduced emissions.
  2. Recycling 1-tonne of steel saves 1,136 kg of iron ore, 454 kg of coal and 18 kg of limestone
  3. You can test which metal is in your bin is by using a magnet. Aluminium metal is non-magnetic whereas steel is magnetic.
  4. Drink cans are generally made from aluminum while food cans are usually made from steel.
  5. Metal recycling helps recreate new product once the original items has reached the end of its useful life.
  6. Recycling scrap metals including iron and aluminum can be benefit local construction project such as roads and bridges.
  7. Scrap metals are refashioned for use in creating bikes, cars, aircraft and other modes of transportation.
  8. Scrap metals aids in storage and transportation of goods across the world with many shipping containers created from recycled metal.
  9. Reusing scrap metal has supported many industries to reduce their environment impact e.g. reduced mining of natural and scare resources.
  10. Recycled aluminum can be melted at a much lower temperature than new aluminum therefore saving on energy.
  11. Scrap metal recycling helps reduce Co2 emissions created through mining, transport and smelting.
  12. Recycling scrap metal reduces the need for landfills sites and leads to a positive effect on water supply, soil and land usage.
  13. Aluminum is made from a mined ore called Bauxite, which is converted into alumina, a fine white powder. This powder is then smelted at over 700°C, to become aluminum. The process is expensive and uses lots of resources including energy and fuel.
  14. The aluminum used in packaging is much more difficult to collect, since it is very light. It is discarded in every home, school, office, pub and restaurant without a thought so remember light metal e.g. kitchen foil.
  15. Scrap metal recycling is an essential part of the manufacturing industry. This includes steel, iron, and nonferrous metals like aluminum, copper and copper and lead. Using these secondary materials instead of virgin materials saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Why Recycling is More Important Now Than Ever

Similarly to traffic laws and taxes, residential and commercial recycling regulations are managed at the stage and local level throughout Canada. The regulations are intended to maximize recycling efforts and minimize waste across communities. However, recycling rates have stayed stagnant despite the efforts of provincial and local officials to reduce waste. It’s crucial that today’s businesses learn to adhere to local recycling regulations, helping them recycle as much as possible!

 

RECYCLING REGULATIONS 

Ontario is shifting to a circular economy – a new waste management approach where waste is seen as a resource that can be recovered, reused and reintegrated into the production stream. Markets are implementing regulatory mandates at growing rates. Some cities have introduced zero-waste policies and diversion programs that have shown potential to increase recycling. However, reports show that millions of companies are still behind in their zero-waste efforts. The adoption rate of the policies are at a minimum because commercial and residential spaces don’t have access to basic recycling services. 

 

WASTE DIVERSION PROGRAMS

Ontario has four diversion programs to reuse, recycle or safely dispose of waste. They operate on the producer responsibility principle, where producers are responsible for managing their products and packaging at end-of-life. Blue Box Program: recycles printed paper and packaging (plastics, paper, glass, aluminum, steel)

  • Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste Program: recycles or properly disposes of paint, antifreeze, batteries, fertilizers and other hazardous or special materials
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Program: reuses or recycles electronic equipment like computers, televisions and stereos
  • Used Tires Program: recycles used tires from passenger, truck and off-road vehicles

 

WHY AREN’T BUSINESSES RECYCLING?

There is minimal data of adoption rates and engagements surrounding business recycling regulations. Regulations go a long way in defining rules and guidelines for businesses to follow, but participation is still low due to reasons ranging from expensive costs, not enough space to recycle and a lack of interest present from management.

When was the last time you reviewed your waste and recycling setup? You could be over-paying for those bulky containers that take up a lot of room. You may be able to downsize to stream-specific recycling receptacles (no more more worrying about those expensive steel containers). There are plenty of local recycling services (waste, metal, scraps etc.) who will pay close attention to local recycling policies and provide solutions to you/ your company needs. This will make work to make your recycling and waste management easier and more efficient.