The scrap metal industry has long been a vital sector for the UK economy and it remains so today. In the late 19th century, the United Kingdom was leading the world’s Industrial Revolution from the front, with almost half of the world’s steel and iron produced on its island.
However, after producing large amounts of metal goods to help the United States of America build its infrastructure, the British metal industry fell into decline until the 1980s when enterprises were privatised and experienced significant reorganisation.
Today, up to half of all metal that’s manufactured in the UK is made up of recycled materials. Consequently, metal recycling is an essential facet of the production process now and for the years to come.
The importance of metal recycling
The vast majority of metals used today in the UK can be recycled into new, premium metal products. Better still, producing metal products from recycled materials is also the most economic and eco-friendly system for businesses and the industry as a whole. The use of recycled materials saves the natural deposits of minerals whilst minimising CO2 emissions and the energy consumption required to secure raw materials.
The use of recycled metals in the metal industry throughout the European Union (EU) minimises CO2 emissions by almost 200 million tons each year. In fact, steel recycling alone reduces pollution into our atmosphere by almost nine-tenths (86%), saves 76% of pollution into our waters and minimises our consumption of water by two-fifths (40%).
What does the UK scrap metal market look like now?
The UK’s scrap metal market is divided into two categories: non-ferrous and ferrous metals. Ferrous metals contain iron and various alloy combinations e.g. steel and cast iron. It doesn’t cost much these days to scrap and recycle these metals, but they are now the bulk of metal scrap trading and recycling among the 1,500-plus UK scrap yards which report combined revenues of around £5bn per annum. The most common sources of ferrous metals from consumers today include end-of-life road vehicles and household equipment, waste electricals and end-of-life electronic equipment.
Non-ferrous metals cover a broader spectrum of metals but tend to be less common within British recycling sites. Metals such as lead, titanium, aluminium and copper are included in this category, but they are only valuable to scrap yards when they are free of contaminants e.g. rubber, tar and other materials. Non-ferrous metals are subsequently graded in the UK for their purity and quality, with prices paid to consumers dependent on the grade of metal offered.
The latest scrap metal legislation in the UK
In 2013, the new Scrap Metal Dealers Act came into force to provide better protection for consumers. As of 2013, all scrap metal dealers were forced to apply for a metal dealer’s license from their respective local authorities. In addition, it has been illegal since 2013 for scrap metal recyclers to pay for scrap in cash, with only electronic payments and cheques permitted today.
At Thanet Metal Recycling you can sell your scrap metal to us for recycling with complete confidence. We only use the latest and best technology for processing ferrous and non-ferrous metals and guarantee total accuracy in our weighing. Every customer gets paid exactly what they should to the nearest penny.
If you’d like to know more about our metal recycling services, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team today on 01843 867416 or drop in to Thanet Metal Recycling site to see for yourself.