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An Overview of UK Metal Recycling Industry
Metal recycling is a £5.6 billion industry in UK. It processes ferrous and nonferrous metal into vital
secondary raw material for the smelting of new material, employing over8,000 people and making a net
contribute to UK’s trade balance. Thus recycled metals have significant economic value and so scrap
metal is rarely discarded or sent to landfill.
The UK is one of the five largest metal scrap exporting countries in the world. In 2005, 13 millions of
metal scrap was recycled in the UK, more than its own need, therefore around 40% of this was used in
the UK, and the remaining 60% exported worldwide.
◇Ferrous scrap: 4.6 million tonnes of iron and steel and stainless steel scrap was supplied to steelworks
in the UK, and 0.9 million tonnes to UK foundries; 6.1 million tonnes was exported. Major markets were
Europe, particularly Spain, and Asia, particularly India. The worldwide market for ferrous scrap is
predicted to continue its steady growth, which has averaged around 5% per annul over the past 12 years.
◇Non-ferrous metals: over one million tonnes was processed. Approximately 45% of this was aluminum,
31% copper, and significant quantities of nickel, brass, zinc and lead. Non ferrous metals are traded on
the London Metal Exchange, and therefore subject to volatility in commodity investments. UK exports
topped 800,000 tonnes in 2005, a 20% increase on the previous year. Europe, China and India are the
Why UK Metal Recycling Industry Develops So Well
For the prosperous development of UK metal recycling industry, I think there are four important reasons.
In UK, many sectors contribute to the collection of metal scrap which is shown in the following part:
a.Packaging: some 2 billion aluminum and steel cans are recycled every year.
b.Vehicles: over 75% of a car is metal – early 90% of the target. Around half of the material processed by
metal recycling shredders comes from vehicles.
c.WEEE: the industry already recycles most discarded household appliances. Electronic and
telecommunications goods are a significant consumer of non ferrous metals.
d.Batteries: The EU Directive comes into effect in 2008, but the metals recycling industry is already
recycling most lead acid vehicle and industrial batteries.
Next reason is UK’s prefect recycling system. It owns many small, family owned companies, as well as
large, international businesses. These small scrap yards are scattered here and there, which is within
local citizen’s approach. They carry out a range of function and then supply partially or fully processed
metal scrap to larger operators or traders.
Another reason we have to mention is strict laws and decrees like The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. In
this Act, all site-based and mobile scrap dealers must apply for a license from their local authority and the
ban of cash payments for scrap metal will be extended to all metal dealers including traditional scrap
yards, mobile collectors and motor vehicle salvage operators. More than that, the owner of scrap yard
must verify the identity of anyone from whom they buy. These policies are inevitable force to ensure the
healthy development of UK metal recycling industry.
The last reason I like to talk is recycling machines. The application of machines in metal recycling will
greatly improve recycling efficiency and effect. Metal shearing machine can reduce the size of the large
pieces by cutting; metal baling press reduces feed stock to fist-sized lump. A large shredder can process
a car in less than ten seconds. These machines have been widely used in UK metal recycling industry.
Main Kinds of UK Metal Scrap
In UK, a wide range of ferrous and nonferrous metals are accepted. Ferrous scrap metals are generally
scrap steel, cast iron, heavy iron, and stainless steel. It can be found in household appliances, kitchen
utensils, and includes scrap cars. Non-ferrous scrap metals are brass, copper, aluminium, and stainless
steel. Some households may also have zinc that could be recycled. Ferrous recycling generally has
lower scrap metal prices per tonne when compared to non-ferrous recycling, but that is not always the
case. Steel and other ferrous metals of a certain grade can fetch £140 per tonne on a good trading day.
Among them, steel, aluminum and copper are top three kinds in the whole metal recycling industry. In the
UK, the overall average end-of-life recovery rate for steel from buildings has been estimated from
surveys to be 96%. It is important to remember that this is true recycling; every tonne of scrap recovered
substitutes one tonne of primary steelmaking and this can happen again and again, with existing
technology and without any degradation in terms of properties or performance.
Recycling aluminum requires 95% less energy, and produces 95% fewer greenhouse gas emissions,
than manufacturing primary aluminum. Eight billion aluminum beverage cans are sold in the UK every
year, and each one could be recycled over and over again. In a whole year, one can could be recycled
eight times, saving enough energy to make 160 new cans. Nearly 90% of the beverage cans sold in the
UK are made of aluminum and the current recycling rate(2011) for beverage cans stands at 55%, so
there is still plenty out there to collect and recycle.
Copper is another metal widely used in national industry such as electrical application, construction,
transport, coin, sculptures,etc. Since the beginning of the 20th century, global demand for refined copper
has risen rapidly. Recycled copper helps to meet the growing demand of copper. In Europe, 41% of our
demand for copper is met from recycling.
How to Do Well in Copper Recycling
As we have mentioned, copper is widely used in many sectors, so copper recycling is a little complex.
Knowing how to classify scrap copper could mean the difference between netting a nice price from a
scrap yard and unknowing throwing away potentially valuable pieces of copper.
The most valuable form of scrap copper is known as "Number 1 heavy scrap" and includes bus bars,
clippings, punchings and wiring with a thickness of 1/16" or more. These pieces are made of unalloyed
copper that is clean and uncoated.
The second most valuable form of scrap is called "Number 2 scrap copper wire." Like heavy scrap,
pieces included in this classification are clean and unalloyed but, in this case, they may be coated or
oxidised as long as they do not have too much soldering. How to separate copper core from the
insulation will be a big problem.
Copper wire can be stripped in a number of ways. For an individual, you can use a vice to hold one end
and then get a pair of wire strippers and grip the wire with one hand and pull sharply. This can take a
while but it is one of the best way to do it. For a scrap yard, it is worth to buy a automatic wire stripping
machine or copper granulator. These two machines can help you get pure copper wire or copper granule
without heavy work in a short period.More than that, you can be well prepared for a better price anytime.
Why Do You Need Copper Cable Granulator
Copper cable granulator is designed for recovering copper granules from various scrap wires and cables.
Since its operation is simple and recycling effect is excellent, it has been a main kind of copper wire
recycling machines. More than that, copper granule processed by this machine has a wide application in
electronic industry. Take copper foil as example. Originally, the raw material is electrolytic copper, but the
production cost is high while the efficiency is low. Now we use copper granule instead of electrolytic
copper, the efficiency has got improved greatly. Copper granule is also used for alloying with other
metals and other new fields. So the market of pure copper granule is of great prospects. That means
copper cable granulator can bring you huge economic benefits.
Wide Application of Whirlston Copper Wire Granulator in UK
Whirlston is a reputable manufacturer in China and well known for its good quliaty and competitive price.
Therefore, its products has been exported to many places of France like Marseilles, Fos, Bouc, Paris, etc.
Therefore, we have rich experience in providing machine and considerate after-sale service for French
customer and European customers in other countries.The following pictures shows the machines which
are being packaged for shipping to France.