Reselling Your Cell Phone, Car, or Refrigerator is Recycling!
Recycling metal reduces waste, pollution, gas emissions and destruction of habitats that are caused when producing new metal.
Sahd’s Metal Recycling is taking one step further to educate their community on the benefits of recycling metal. They host tours and events to spread awareness on what metal can do to our climate and environment. By recycling metal, you can create art, save money on household items and reduce waste entering landfill.
In 1941, Frank and Lucille started a recycling business with an antique shop in their front yard and a scrap location in the backyard of their home on 219-221 Locust Street, Columbia, PA. After WWll Frank’s brothers Charlie and Joe joined the business. They bought and sold ferrous (metals that contain iron) and non-ferrous metals as well as burlap, rags and paper. The operation became so successful that in 1950, they moved their location to 1045 Lancaster Avenue in Columbia. Here they changed their mission to only focus on recycling while introducing another generation of the family. The business became incorporated in 1967.
I spoke with Dan Sahd, a manager and son of the most recent generation. He informed me the amount of metal they receive per day usually varies between 60,00 lbs to 70,000 lbs. They have bins set up in multiple locations that can fill up at least 10,000 lbs of scrap. Those bins then get picked up and brought to the scrap yard to be weighed and sorted. Customers can also bring in their own scrap that can weigh anywhere between 2 lbs to 1,000 lbs.
The great majority of customers are industrial companies that make anything out of steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. Basically any company that makes anything out of metal and needs to get rid of excess scrap.
They hold retail hours from 8am-4pm Monday through Friday. At this time, anyone can walk or drive through the yard to pick out any kind of scrap. Prices are measured per pound.
Buying metal at retail price makes it a valuable resource to recycle. Dan has an app that releases up to date prices on how much metals are worth everyday. With this, he is able to properly negotiate with his customers.
Choosing to purchase scrap metal rather than new metal for projects is also a great way to save money because it enables for more than one use for certain products. For example, Millersville University’s Sculpture 1 class takes a trip every semester to Sahd’s Scrap Metal to pick out pieces for their projects. The average price per student is about $5 for a large bucket of scrap.
Dan claims that the environmental regulations have made the scrap industry better because the incoming scrap is cleaner. They don’t accept anything with oil, any machine that has cylinders on it, anything with residue, etc.
Most metals are recyclable. The most common are:
- Aluminum – a lightweight metal found in aluminum foil, electronics. Third most common element on Earth
- Brass/Bronze – a copper alloy, found in instruments & doorknobs
- Cast Iron – used in cookware
- Copper – usually found in wiring
- Steel – made from Iron, carbon and other materials. Found in construction equipment
- Tin – not many things are made completely of Tin. Most are just coated with it because of its polished shine and resistance to rusting.
Although recycling metal is a sustainable action, there are some risks when working at a scrap yard. Just picture a junk yard that only contains metal, heavy metal at that. There are mountains of scrap that are 30+ feet high and it takes large equipment to lug it all around. With this being said, it is required to wear closed toed shoes, gloves and a safety vest when visiting.
On April 27th Sahd’s Metal Recycling is hosting an event celebrating Earth Day. Organizations come and educate people about recycling and promote practices that we need as a society to use less. They will also be selling art and pieces they’ve received that can still go to good use such as antiques, vintage cars and more.
Roger Dorsey: An Artist and Frequent Customer
Roger Dorsey, a retired Geologist for the Commonwealth, is a regular customer that visits the yard 3-5 times a week. He comes so frequently because he doesn’t want to miss out on some interesting pieces for his artwork. He says the staff works pretty quickly to throw their scraps into large piles and once it’s up there, it’s inaccessible for walk in customers. His work is shown in Lancaster’s gallery row at the Artisans Gallery. His pieces vary from abstraction to representational- things that send messages to the public. Roger has always enjoyed art and it was a great hobby to do after retirement. He enjoys going to the yard almost everyday and considers the staff as family.
I, personally, have experience working in this field. My father works for Arconic, a company that produces Aluminum for literally anything you can think of. I spent a Summer working in the Cast House Receiving department where they receive scrap and sort it so it can be melted. The coils that are brought in vary from 5,000 lbs to 80,000 lbs and I had to band them up so they could be sorted. Banding consists of wrapping a steel band around the coil so it doesn’t unravel. Needless to say it was a dangerous job, especially for a 5 foot teenage female. There’s a lot of risk that’s included in this kind of work and Arconic made it very clear. My first week consisted of watching videos on how not to get injured or potentially killed when working around furnaces with molten metal. Sounds a little harsh but it’s true, and I’m glad they made it so important.
The Process of Recycling Metal
The collection of metal is different from any other material because of its higher value. There is a higher probability for metal to go into scrap yards than being sent into landfill.
When received, the metals are sorted into large piles to separate it from any other scrap. A lot of waste can be intertwined with the scrap so this process is important to keep its value. Most businesses use magnets for easier identification.
After sorting, the metal is shredded into smaller pieces in order for it to melt easier. This process still conserves energy.
Melting & Purification
The scrap is put into a large furnace specifically for it’s type to be melted. It’s then purified to ensure quality.
The hot metal is put on a conveyor belt to cool and morphe into whatever mold they have for it. An example would be metal bars.
The metal is then sent out to factories and different companies for use.
China is No Longer Accepting Our Trash
China has stopped accepting our recyclables due to the amount of trash that came with them. This is because many people are not educated on how to recycle correctly. Believe or not, you cannot recycle Starbucks coffee cups. You CAN recycle clean and dry cardboard, paper, bottles and cans. With China not accepting our recycling, the cost to recycle has drastically increased to the point where facilities across the country have temporarily suspended their program until further notice. What we can do as a community is to learn how to separate our waste from our recyclable items and sort them. This will save time, money, and decrease the amount waste being handed in. If there’s as much waste as there are recyclables, it will all be sent to landfill so when in doubt, throw it out.
FOR FULL WEBSITE VISIT: https://recycleyourmetal.wordpress.com/
Sources: “Benefits of Scrap Metal Recycling.” Calgary Metal Recycling, http://www.calgarymetal.com/blog/benefits_of_scrap_metal_recycling/.
Dorsey. Roger. Personal Interview. 18 Apr. 2019.
“Environmental Benefits of Commercial Recycling for Metal.” Business Recycling, businessrecycling.com.au/info/enviro-metals.cfm.
LeBlanc, Rick. “Get an Introduction to Metal Recycling.” The Balance Small Business, The Balance, 3 Dec. 2018, http://www.thebalancesmb.com/an-introduction-to-metal-recycling-4057469.
“Metals (Other than Cans) Recycling.” Less Is More, lessismore.org/materials/14-metal/.
Sahd. Dan. Personal Interview. 18 Apr. 2019.
“Why Is the US so Bad at Recycling?” BBC News, BBC, 4 May 2019, http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-48127398/why-is-the-us-so-bad-at-recycling.
“3 Generations of Metal Expertise to Serve You!” Sahd Metal Recycling, www.recycleyourmetal.com/about.