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Recycling Indus try Yearbook

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

5

Paper Milling

Fibrous pulp is spread out on screens and absorptive mats

that move through heated rollers stretching, compressing,

and extracting moisture from the fiber. This process adheres

the fibers together to create a roll of paper.

Polymer Cracking

Petroleum distillates are often long complex chains of hydrocarbons and

natural gas is a mix of several types of hydrocarbon gases. In order to create

more uniform and adaptable products, those hydrocarbons are put into a

chamber with catalysts to lower energy costs that will “crack” apart the longer

chains into smaller blocks, such as ethylene and propylene, which are used to

build new polymer chains, also known as plastics.

Smelting and Refining

Beneficiated ore is heated until it melts with reducing agents that remove

non-metallic elements such as oxygen and sulfur. The resulting liquid metal

is separated from the slag similar to how the impurities are skimmed when

making broth and formed into working pieces such as ingots or billet. The

process to raise the temperature of the ore above 2000˚ F requires enormous

amounts of energy.

The scrap recycling industry connects

the ends of the manufacturing supply chain.

It has evolved in response to changing market

dynamics and represents a key component in

creating a circular economy.

2016 Volume of Scrap Material Processed

Annually in the United States

(metric tons)

Iron and Steel

65,000,000

Paper

52,196,000

Aluminum

4,930,000

Copper

1,750,000

Lead

1,115,000

Zinc

65,000

Plastics (bottles 2015)

623,000

Electronics

+ 5,000,000 (est.)

Tires (# of tires)

136,000,000