[This article was originally published in June 2020 and has been expanded, updated, and revised.]
Scrap metal recycling and recovery is a massive industry in the United States. But it isn't just for businesses. Homeowners and others contribute large amounts of metal, as well.
In fact, while it's not something that most homeowners find themselves engaging in, scrap metal removal and recycling can make disposing of your junk items greener!
The State of Scrap Metal Recycling
Scrap metal removal is a function that is more often associated with manufacturing facilities and other industrial type businesses. However, homeowners and residential tenants can often find themselves saddled with large amounts of junk items that are made primarily of metal. And they need these removed.
But, unlike their commercial counterparts, they may not consider where their metal junk items may end up. In fact, if asked many would probably mention junkyards or landfills.
Fortunately, knowingly or not, these folks can be participating in a major industry: scrap metal recycling.
As one source notes,
Almost all metals can be infinitely recycled and used again and again with no deterioration to the quality. Iron, steel, copper and aluminum are among the most versatile types of metal. Most new appliances, cars and even buildings are made with recycled metals, most commonly steel.
Perhaps some of the most common sources of scrap metal coming from homes and apartments are household appliances, or white goods as they are called in the industry. In fact, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, on average 75 percent of the weight of a typical household appliance comes from steel.
Most large appliances in a home are constructed primarily of steel, almost 25 percent of which is recycled steel. Here are some average steel amounts for common appliances:
- Clothes washers, top load: 94.5 pounds
- Clothes dryers (gas): 100.4 pounds
- Microwave ovens: 28.8 pounds
- Dishwashers (steel interior): 26.7 pounds
- Ranges (gas): 149.4 pounds
- Side by side refrigerator:152.5 pounds
Of course, these facts alone should convince anyone that the last place an old appliance should end up is in a dump or landfill. Considering that steel is 100 percent recyclable, it stands to reason that removing these "scrap metal" items and taking them to recycling plants is the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally beneficial option for disposal.
Some recent facts from Recyclebank provides a snapshot of junk metal recycling in the U.S.:
- Steel is the most recycled material in North America.
- Recycling aluminum uses 90 percent less energy than making virgin aluminum.
- Almost half of North American’s aluminum supply comes from recycled aluminum.
- An aluminum can be recycled and turned into a new can is as little as 60 days.
- It can take up to 50 years for a steel food can to decompose and 200 years for aluminum.
- In 2015, the U.S. transformed more than 130 million metric tons of scrap metal into raw material commodities.
Scrap metal recycling is an essential part of the manufacturing industry. Most scrap metal comes not only from cans but also from construction scraps, automobiles, and appliances, and almost 100 percent of it can be turned back into steel and aluminum for the same applications.
This makes most junk, or scrap, metal recycling an almost virtually sustainable practice.
Junk Metal Recycling For a Sustainable Future
Although many junk items continue to be dumped into landfills, the trend over the last decade or so has been to divert as much junk containing recoverable metals to recovery facilities. This is because scrap metal recovery and junk metal recycling is a robustly green and sustainable option.
Unfortunately, many of the recycling rates for common metals in the United States are somewhat dismal. For example, according to data from Statista,
The recycling rate of lead in the United States reached 76 percent in 2019. This was a higher recycling rate than for many other types of metal. The U.S. recycled more than 50 million metric tons of iron and steel in 2019, giving a recycling rate of 47 percent.
Far too many junk and scrap items escape being diverted from landfills and we miss out on valuable and much-needed production resources, as a result. That being said, however, Statista also notes that,
The United States recycled 50.1 million metric tons of iron and steel from scrap in 2019. By weight, this was considerably more than any other metal recycled that year. The U.S. is one of the leading exporters of steel scrap worldwide, surpassed only by the European Union.
Simply dumping metal items into landfills is not only wasteful, it is counter-productive as it takes up diminishing landfill space and deprives manufacturers of potential raw materials.
One of the benefits of business and residential large junk removal is that most metals in these junk items are completely reusable and many can be recycled many times over.
This infographic illustrates some of the benefits derived from scrap metal recycling:
The Best Option for Scrap Metal Removal and Disposal is Recycling
Take old appliances, for example. Regardless of their condition, your used appliances can either be reused or recycled.
If you have a usable appliance in good condition, it can still be sold or donated to a charity. If the appliance can't be repaired cost-effectively, then recycling the metal components is a great option.
However, by trying to haul those large junk metal items like appliances, you risk damaging your vehicle in the process. And, if you need to make multiple trips back and forth to a scrap metal recovery facility, that becomes more costly and less energy-efficient, as well. Not only that, but there are the very real risks for injury when handling large metal junk items.
And all of this is assuming that you even have a vehicle you can fit your large metal items into!
The best option for getting rid of your unwanted appliances and tools is to have them hauled off and disassembled by professionals, and the materials recycled. This always better than taking them to your local landfill.
And it should go without saying: NEVER dump them someplace you shouldn't.
In fact, calling a professional junk hauling firm for your scrap metal pick up is your best option for safely and cost-effectively removing your scrap metal. And by going with an eco-friendly company like Junk King, you will know that as much of your scrap metal as possible will be recycled.
Junk King will haul and remove almost anything our two man teams can handle. Another great advantage Junk King provides is the size of our trucks. They are 30 percent larger than our competitors, which gives us a significant hauling advantage. Not only can we haul away more appliance items than anyone else in one trip, we use various methods to dispose of appliance items like:
- Air Conditioners
- Stoves and Ovens
- Water Heaters
- Washing Machines
- Trash Compactors
If it's made with metal, we can most likely get it recycled!
Call Junk King for Scrap Metal Disposal
Junk King can collect and deliver your junk metal to a local recycling facility. We operate a fleet that includes many bio-fuel vehicles and your metal debris will become new recycled material with the most environmentally friendly methods.
Junk King recycles more than other junk removal companies and our junk metal recycling is available for almost any item including:
- Iron, steel, copper, aluminum, brass and more
- Beams, wires, and other construction metal debris
- Plumbing fixtures and other home renovation debris
- Any other unwanted metal junk
We are also fully insured to protect you against any risk. We safely carry the scrap metal debris off your property and load it into our large, heavy-duty trucks. From pick-up to transport, our junk metal recycling service relieves you of an otherwise difficult and dangerous chore.
Contact us to schedule an appointment for junk metal recycling and we'll pick up any amount and variety of metal from your home, business, or construction site.
Schedule Your Junk Metal Recycling Today
Make the call today! With Junk King, you only need to point us in the direction of your unwanted junk and our friendly, uniformed staff will take it from there. And we provide upfront pricing when we arrive.
Schedule an appointment to get a free, no-obligation quote before we begin to work.
Call Junk King today at 888.888.JUNK (5865) or book online!