We process ferrous metals—or those containing iron—by shearing, torching, baling, or sending them through shredders, which break down materials more efficiently than manual processing. The end product is denser and more suitable for use by steel mills.
We also process non-ferrous metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and brass; all products that can all be recycled into new products. In the past, we sold a significant portion of these materials as mixed grades, which we exported for further sorting. Today, to meet increased customer demand for more refined grades of metals, Schnitzer is upgrading and expanding enhanced separation capabilities in our non-ferrous metal recovery plants, also referred to as Joint Product Plants.
While Schnitzer’s recycling facilities have recycled and sold ferrous and non-ferrous metals for more than a century, we are seizing the opportunity to more precisely sort non-ferrous metals and other materials that form a growing component of the scrap stream. For example, household appliances and vehicles have been an important part of modern life for decades. With the increased use of complex electronic components in these products, our metals yards must recover a greater volume of highly complex scrap materials when they reach the end of their useful lives. This, in turn, requires the use of advanced sorting technologies that ensure consumer safety, protect the environment, and minimize the amount of material sent to landfills.
In addition to our investments in advanced sorting technology, we have invested significantly in equipment to reduce the emissions from our metals recycling operations. (Learn more here). We are also identifying additional customers for recycled products and working with a growing number of retailers and manufacturers in need of recycling services.