Ever wondered what happens to the metal you recycle?

Every year Shrewsbury residents put out hundreds of tonnes of metal cans, tins, aerosols and tin foil in their recycling boxes for collection and people often ask what happens to this material? 

Well to make collection more efficient for everyone, your metal packaging gets collected mixed with the plastics and so first it has to go to Veolia's Materials Recycling Facility near Wolverhampton to be separated using special magnets and eddy current separation.  The metal needs further sorting into the steel and aluminium fractions before they can be recycled - this is relatively straight forward because ferrous (steel) cans are magnetic whereas Aluminium is not.

Once separated the metal is crushed into half tonne bales, strapped up and sold to specialist metal recycling companies. 

- Steel goes to AGM in South Wales to be melted down in a furnace to make new steel.  It goes into a variety of manufacturing processes. It could end up as a steel girder in a building, or a bicycle or a kettle or a washing machine or baked bean tins - the possibilities are endless!

- Aluminium goes to the Novelis closed-loop recycling plant in Cheshire where it is primarily used to make more cans. 

All metal is recyclable.

...but unfortunately we cannot currently collect it all from the kerbside…

Please dont put metal items like pots and pans, empty paint tins, bikes, garden tools, door handles, nuts and bolts etc. out for collection! You can still recycle them all but you just need to take them up to Battlefield Industrial Estate in north Shrewsbury and put them in the scrap metal bay at the Household Recycling Centre.

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James Thompson James Thompson

Waste Prevention Officer, Waste Management, Shropshire Council

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