The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has invited the global recycling community to reconnect in Barcelona from May 23-25, 2022, at the World Recycling Convention & Exhibition. It’s expected that scrap metal and other material recycling decision-makers, traders, processors, consumers and brokers, machinery and equipment suppliers and IT suppliers and consultants, from all over the world will attend the three-day event.
The various sessions are geared to specific recycling topics, like paper, non-ferrous, ferrous, e-scrap, stainless steel, textiles, plastics, tires, etc., so attendees can network with others with similar interests.
We will be focusing our attention on scrap metal recycling. Here in the US, scrap metal recycling is big business and vital to the economy. According to the latest USGS report,
“In 2021, the total value of domestic purchases of iron and steel scrap (receipts of ferrous scrap by all domestic consumers from brokers, dealers, and other outside sources) and exports was estimated to be $27 billion, nearly double the $14.0 billion in 2020 and 68% more than the $15.8 billion in 2019. U.S. apparent consumption of steel, the leading end use for iron and steel scrap, was estimated to have increased by 18% to 98 million tons in 2021 from 82.9 million tons in 2020.”
The report explains that foundries and steelmaking companies are reliant on recycled iron and steel scrap in order to produce new steel and cast iron products.
“The steel and foundry industries in the United States have been structured to recycle scrap and, as a result, are highly dependent upon scrap. Recycling 1 ton of steel conserves 1.1 tons of iron ore, 0.6 ton of coking coal, and 0.05 ton of limestone. Recycling of scrap also conserves energy because the remelting of scrap requires much less energy than the production of iron or steel products from iron ore.”
Automobiles make up the majority of the scrap, but there are plenty of other no-longer used products thrown into the mix, including structural steel from construction, appliances, rebar, and scrap resulting from the manufacturing process of various products.
And therein lie some concerns. The exact chemical composition of scrap may not be known. In fact, there may be contaminants or hazardous elements in the supply. Many varieties of metal, including high temperature alloys, are entering scrap yards, often from unknown sources or with mislabeled or misidentified documentation about the origin and composition.
Since manufacturers are increasingly using recycled materials in their fabrication processes, the material integrity of the finished product could be compromised. Even more concerning is if medical equipment that utilized radioactive sources were part of the scrap pile. Radioactively contaminated scrap threatens both the workers who handle it and consumers of products made with recycled scrap metal.
We’ll be discussing these issues and more at Booth S9 at the show. Stop by to talk with our experts about portable scrap metal identification technologies and instruments, and see live, hands-on demonstrations of metal being analyzed and identified in seconds. We’ll outline the differences between X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) and which one technology is best for sorting particular metals. We will also discuss how automatic scrap monitoring systems are used to monitor vehicles entering the scrap yard, or processes within the facility to provide accurate, reliable detection of radiation sources commonly found in scrap metal.
If you’re at the show, please stop by our booth or find us at Tuesday’s “Meet the Exhibitors Party.” We’d love to hear about your scrap stories. We hope you have an experience like one of our customers who bought what they thought was 304 Stainless, but used a handheld XRF analyzer to confirm the material and found it to be Inco 750; they made a nice profit on that purchase. (You can watch the customer tell that story here.)
We hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, follow the show on social media using @BIRworld #birbarcelona2022. Or download our ebook (A practical guide to improving metal and alloy sorting for scrap metal recyclers) to learn about the latest technologies for scrap metal identification and best practices for getting the best results.
BIR Barcelona 2022
- Download our free eBook: A Practical Guide to Improving Steel Manufacturing Processes and Production Methods
- Visit our center for Improving Steel Manufacturing Processes and Production
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