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Lithium-Ion Batteries

Understanding The Need To Recycle Lithium-Ion Batteries

Today, lithium-ion batteries (or Li-ion batteries) are considered the battery technology of choice in a wide spectrum of electronics. For example, e-readers, laptops, smartphones, and more. Additionally, these batteries are also utilized to power various tools and even electric vehicles (EVs). Speaking of powering vehicles, industry analysts predict that China alone will generate approximately 500,000 metric tons of used lithium-ion batteries by 2020. A decade later, that number may reach two million metric tons per year.

Understanding Lithium-Ion Batteries

Before looking at how problematic used Li-ion batteries can be, we need to first understand their individual components. With that said, a single Li-ion battery may contain:

  • Carbon black and binder (e.g., PVDF—polyvinylidene fluoride.)
  • Separator plastics
  • Electrolyte solution
  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Active cathode materials (e.g., cobalt, aluminum oxide, lithium nickel, and lithium cobalt oxide.)
  • Anode (e.g., graphite.)

Many recyclers currently recycle just the metals; all the battery’s components, however, have value and can be reused after their recovery.

Causes More Landfill Problems

Now that you have a basic understanding of the batteries’ contents, it’s time to focus on the landfill problems they can cause. If current trends for handling used batteries remain unchanged, they will continue to pile up in landfills. Because they contain manganese, nickel, and cobalt, these metals can leak from the casing of buried batteries and contaminate groundwater and soil. These events threaten the well-being of humans and ecosystems. So, how can we prevent these problems from becoming a reality? The answer: recycle and reuse.

The Importance of Recycling

Both environmentalists and battery specialists agree that materials recovered from recycling Li-ion batteries can be used to make new ones. Because these materials account for over half of a battery’s cost, doing the above can help lower manufacturing costs. Nickel and cobalt are the two most expensive cathode metals found in said batteries. Their current market prices stand at roughly $12,600 per metric ton and $90,000 per metric ton, respectively.

It is important to note that used Li-ion batteries can have negative environmental effects not just at the end of their service lifespan but long before they are manufactured as well. By recycling spent batteries, we essentially reduce the need to mine for more virgin materials, as well as the use of other harmful processing materials, e.g., metal-sulfide ore can contribute to acid rain.

Reality Check: It’s Not that Easy

If recycling is the solution, why are we not doing it? Unfortunately, regulatory gaps, logistic issues, economic barriers, and technical constraints haven’t made this option a universally well-established practice. Today, the Li-ion battery industry still lacks a clear path to economical recycling on a large-scale. That’s why less than five percent of used Li-ion batteries are recycled today.

Continuous Improvement Needed

That’s not to say that the industry isn’t making any attempts to resolve the pressing issues. Large pyrometallurgy facilities are being used to recycle Li-ion batteries. These units, which typically run near 1,500 °C, are capital intensive and emit toxic fluorine compounds during the smelting processes.

Hydrometallurgy processing methods are practiced commercially in China. Although this less energy-intensive alternative helps lower capital costs, it requires the use of caustic reagents such as hydrogen peroxide, as well as sulfuric, nitric, and hydrochloric acids.

All is not lost; researchers are pursuing direct recycling methods that shun costly processing. For example, removing electrolytes with supercritical carbon dioxide before crushing the batteries’ cells and separating the components physically. It goes without saying that more work is needed to efficiently employ this cost-saving approach.

H&C Metals & Balemet Recycling Purchase Flatbed Trailer

H&C Metals and its sister company, Balemet, are consistently striving to improve the services provided for its diverse clientele. Several methods include adding new trucking and logistics options to meet the evolving trucking requirements of their scrap supplier bases.

About the New Trailer Purchase

H&C Metals & Balemet Recycling have recently expanded their truck fleets by purchasing a tandem access flatbed trailer. The trailer’s dimensions are: 45’L x 8’H x 5’H and the scrap load weight capacity is 45K lbs.

Why a Tandem Access Flatbed Trailer?

A tandem access flatbed trailer increases the convenience of loading materials from all four sides of the trailer. When a roll-off container (dumpster) is too small to handle oversized loads, or a closed van trailer does not offer the multiple-loading options needed for the job, the flatbed trailer can be utilized to load a variety of scrap metal recycling items. For example, oversized demolition scrap such as long beams and pipes, as well as bulky, heavy industrial and commercial equipment.

The attached pictures illustrate the logistical capabilities of the flatbed trailer.

Flatbed Trailer Flatbed Trailer Flatbed Trailer

Flatbed Trailer in Action: Removal of 20-Ton Commercial Printing Machine

H&C’s customer, a printing company, utilized our trailer to load sections of an obsolete, 20-ton commercial printing machine. The advantages of using the flatbed trailer for this job include faster loading and unloading times of scrap equipment.

Shipped Off to be Recycled

Once the machinery was successfully loaded onto the trailer, H&C’s driver could expertly rig (securely attach) the scrap prior to hauling. The scrap printing press was then hauled to Balemet’s steel recycling facility in Newark for dismantling purposes. This was an important step to take before the recycling process; shipment to a steel mill for smelting and repurposing the steel into new products.

H&C Metals Continues to Increase its Capabilities

H&C Metals will continue to invest in an array of equipment and resources to provide the most efficient, safe, and prompt logistical solutions for its clients.

H&C Metals Promotional Update

H&C Metals recently launched a promotion designed to generate new leads, attract repeat customers, and to effectively communicate with our door trade (delivery) customer base.

 

Win a $100 AMEX Gift Card from H&C Metals!

 

H&C Metals is collecting email addresses from our retail customers and offering an incentive of a $100 AMEX gift card. These benefits will be randomly awarded to lucky customers on a monthly basis. To qualify for this giveaway, simply provide us with your email address.

Congratulations to Paulo Pacheco

scrap import restrictions

What You Need To Know About China’s Scrap Import Restrictions

Did you know that China planned to restrict imports of eight different scrap categories? Yes, the restrictions are real and were implemented on the first of July. These latest restrictions were the country’s way of cleaning up its environment and to form recycling as a domestically driven industry. In addition to that, the restrictions were birthed after a year of regulatory additions on recyclable material import bans. So far, the plastic and fiber sectors in the United States have been hit harder than metals by said restrictions.

Types of Restricted Waste

Below is a list of the main types of restricted waste:

  • Aluminum waste
  • Re-melted scrap ingots of steel and iron
  • Scrap of iron and steel from machining (e.g., stampings, trimmings, filings, sawdust, milling waste, chips, shavings, and turnings)
  • Alloy steel scrap
  • Copper scrap
  • Iron or steel scrap
  • Tinned iron or steel scrap
  • Cast iron scrap

Affected scrap metal exporters believe that China would only restrict mixed metal imports. Oftentimes, these are lower in quality and have higher contamination rates. China’s port such as Sanshan will still accept furnace-ready materials that do not require further processing and sorting.

Reduced Material Quotas

In June, China’s government listed their reduced material quotas that will take effect in the third quarter of the year. Details are as follows:

  • Ferrous scrap: 14,968 metric tons
  • Aluminum: 54,256 metric tons
  • Copper: 240,796 metric tons

Due to stricter contamination standards and the residual effect of other material bans, copper is expected to be affected the most by the new regulations. It is important to note that these numbers only apply to certain companies in northern China. The list of companies in the South will be finalized at a later time. Much of the metal materials flow through the latter.

It’s a Restriction, Not a Ban

Remember that the new regulations on copper, aluminum, and steel are merely restrictions. They are not bans! Even so, these import restrictions are likely to affect scrap metal pricing, demand, and supply as a whole. In fact, certain scrap metal markets have already experienced destabilization in 2019. For example, tariffs that were imposed in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Research has shown that China’s scrap metal imports dropped by 44 percent following the tariffs.

An Early Shutdown

Although the metal import regulations were slated to be in full force on July 1, Sanshan port rejected scrap metal imports three days before the actual date. The early shutdown seems to be caused by importers attempting to beat the deadline by bringing in considerable stockpiles of metal. With that said, no one knows when the port will reopen and start accepting scrap metals again. Other Chinese ports, on the other hand, do not appear to be affected.

How Far Will China Go?

It is currently too early to determine how far China will go with their metal quotas. Likewise, no one can accurately predict the long-term effects of the port closure. While these events will lead to commodity price volatility and market uncertainty, it is not the end of the story.

H&C Metals Conducted A Presentation For Ironbound Catholic Academy (Newark)

Earlier this year, a teacher from Ironbound Catholic Academy (Newark) found our website and contacted H&C Metals to inquire if we were willing to conduct a presentation for their senior class.

Ironbound Catholic Academy

A Presentation on Metal and E-Waste Recycling

 

Students from the senior class were enrolled in an elective program that covered said industry. The teacher thought it would be fun and informative to include a segment about metal and e-waste recycling, as well as invite an industry representative to address the class.

 

H&C Metals’ Presentation Structure

 

H&C Metals agreed upon receiving the request and prepared a presentation discussing:

 

  • Physical samples of materials we buy & sell for recycling
  • Explaining & illustrating the difference between Ferrous & Nonferrous Metals, including the use of a magnet to demonstrate the differences
  • A “tour” of select pages from the H&C website to further explain our operations
  • Videos about the metal recycling & electronic scrap industries and how Lead Acid Batteries (e.g., Car/Truck Batteries) are recycled
  • A review of the transportation & trucking options we utilize for hauling scrap
  • The value of scrap metal
  • A Q&A session

 

We ended the presentation by providing each student with a complimentary H&C Metals magnet.

HC Metals – Ironbound Catholic Academy Testimonial Class of 2014

scrap metal prices

What Are the Factors That Can Affect Scrap Metal Prices?

Whether you are someone who sells scrap metal, or a business owner that purchases processed scrap metal, it’s important to understand scrap metal prices. In the United States, for example, there are certain criteria that affect the prices of scrap metal. Let’s make a closer examination of what factors influence scrap metal prices.

Supply and Demand

This economic theory drives not only the price of scrap metal, but most economic concerns were price is a factor. The price will be lower the greater the supply of a product. The price will be higher, particularly when supply is limited, the greater the demand. Therefore, scrap metal prices will be lower if it is in high supply and in low demand.

Price of Virgin/New Metals

The price of virgin metals is another element that can affect scrap metal prices. This applies to newly mined metals that have not been processed, recycled, or used. Supply and demand, production costs, and energy costs can drive the price of virgin metal up. When those prices are expensive (high), as an alternative to virgin products, scrap metal becomes more valuable. Alternately, scrap metal becomes less essential when virgin metal prices drop because industries can, instead, afford virgin metals.

Production and Energy Costs

The cost of production and the cost of energy will largely affect scrap metal prices. Here’s what’s included in energy costs: oil, gas, and other electricity sources. In order to make up the difference, the price being offered for scrap metal may be lower when the cost of processing is particularly high. That said however, scrap recycling and scrap metal can be a more valuable endeavor if the costs associated with the mining of new metal are sufficiently inflated.

Other things that may affect the price of recycled metal can be the following: new commodity market price, the time of year, location, the quality of the scrap, the quantity of the scrap, and international trade.

Scrapping Metals for Money

So, what are the best things to scrap if you’re looking for some extra spending money? Here are the top moneymakers were scrap metals are concerned (subject to constant change):

  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Insulated copper wire
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Ferrous metals such as light iron

Go through your attic, route through the garage, brave that scary basement. It’s time to turn your garbage into gold – so to speak. If you’re part of a nonprofit organization, consider doing an aluminum can drive, or a collection of other trash/scrapped metals, electrical scrap, computer scrap, etc.

If, to make a little extra cash, you’re considering becoming a scrap collector, here’s your startup kit:

  • Basic knowledge of metals and their various types.
  • Cardboard box, barrel, or truck in which to keep your metal scrap.
  • A magnet, even if it’s just a pocket-sized one, is a must-have for all scrappers. A metal is most likely ferrous if it is drawn to your magnet (or vice versa).

H&C Metals offers competitive scrap metal prices for aluminum cans and other non-ferrous metals, computer scrap, ferrous metals, and some electrical scrap. In fact, for over 40 years, we have been offering not only competitive pricing but stellar service in Newark, New Jersey and the tri-state area. If you have a question about what materials we accept for recycling, or what are current prices are, contact us today.

Interested in information about non-ferrous materials? Watch our video here.

If you have questions about possible recyclable materials, our competitive prices, H&Cs’ Trucking and Hauling capabilities, or specific inquiries about metal recyclables, contact one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives today.

recycle scrap aluminum cans

Why Should You Recycle Scrap Aluminum Cans?

Does anyone really recycle scrap aluminum cans? The answer to this question is an emphatic yes! So much so that today, we are still using some 75% of all the aluminum ever created. In the United States, it is one of the most commonly recycled metals in existence. Furthermore, because in the process of recycling, it loses none of its quality or its integrity, it is 100% recyclable.

Why Is Recycling So Important?

The reasons for recycling aluminum cans are many. One of the biggest reasons is the savings on emissions and energy that would usually be used to make aluminum from the raw material bauxite. When compared to the amount of energy needed to produce aluminum from raw materials, the energy used in recycling aluminum only amounts to approximately 5%. If you are concerned about the environment, one of the biggest steps you can take is to recycle aluminum cans.

Where landfills and emissions are concerned: landfills have been spared approximate 23 million tons of waste and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced considerably.

Those looking for ways to help local communities, the economy, and help out the planet at the same time can save precious money, time, energy, and natural resources by recycling aluminum cans. Recycling one ton of aluminum saves the following:

  • 10 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 32 million BTUs of energy
  • 40 barrels of oil
  • 14,000 kW hours of energy

Garbage Everywhere!

Times have changed – and not all for the better. While far more user-friendly, conveniences like disposable diapers and individually packaged food servings now, more than ever, create ton after ton of garbage. Every single day, approximately seven and a half pounds of garbage is discarded by the average American.

And while nonrecyclable garbage does go into landfills and eventually gets buried, how long before we run out of space for the landfills? Worse yet, some waste materials are shipped to incineration plants which only serve to further pollute our already questionable atmosphere.

Recycling Aluminum Cans – An Investment In Our Economy

Many of us are familiar with the fact that money can be made from the collecting and recycling of aluminum cans. School groups, Girl Scout/Boy Scout troops, and other charitable causes can benefit by collecting aluminum cans and turning them in for cash. But there is another investment factor to the recycling of aluminum cans.

The collection and recycling of aluminum cans supports a diverse and strong recycling manufacturing industry. Localities and states benefit from the wages and jobs provided by this industry. In the chain of economic activity, it is a critical link. What’s more, the money and energy saved by various companies and industries that rely on recycled materials weighs in as an important factor.

H&C Metals knows fully well how important the recycling of aluminum cans is to the economy and the planet. For over 40 years, we have been serving the tri-state and Newark, NJ areas with our recycling efforts. If you have questions about our prices, our hours, scrap that we don’t accept, specific metals, or other recyclable materials, contact one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives today.

recycling scrap meals

Understanding The Fundamentals Of Recycling Scrap Metals

In this day and age where everyone is “going green”, the act of recycling scrap metals is a popular choice not only for its energy and materials saving capabilities but its lucrative possibilities as well. Let’s find out more about recycling scrap metals.

Metal Recycling

Since metal working’s early days, scrap metal has gone through salvaging and reuse. From both an economical and environmental standpoint, it is extremely effective to recycle metal. Because, with repeated melting and casting, the properties of the metal itself do not deteriorate, metals like copper, aluminum, iron, and steel can be recycled over and over again.

Why Recycle Metals?

Why is a specialty like the retrieval of metal from seemingly scrapped or garbage objects something that the metal recycling industry wanted to do in the first place? One big benefit is that landfills won’t be filled with discarded scrap metal. On the contrary, in fact, these once discarded metals are now used to create new products, after being converted into raw materials.

As an example of just what kind of coefficient, sustainable source of raw materials can be provided by recycling… without the use of recycled materials, the price of casting would increase by approximately 20 to 40%!

Types of Scrap Metal

The scrap metal industry refers to its scrap in several ways. These include the following:

  • Obsolete scrap
  • Prompt scrap
  • Home scrap

Metals Must Be Separated

Iron is contained in ferrous metals including gray iron, malleable iron, steel, etc. Using an electromagnet, nonferrous materials are separated from ferrous materials. This type of scrap is frequently used in cast steel and cast-iron products made by foundries and in steelworks.

Nonferrous metals do not contain iron. They are corrosion resistant, nonmagnetic, and, when compared to nonmetallic metals, are heavier. To separate nonmetallic pieces away from a large collection of scrap, a powerful cyclone or vacuum and metallic drum are used. To further separate problematic items out, “handpicking” by humans is required.

Purification and Refinement

A secondary refining is still needed even after separation. Certain specifications must be met before scrap can become usable raw material. Purification must be done.

To accomplish the refining process, pieces of scrap that have properties that are similar are heated to their melting point. Waste matter (or slag) is separated. For desired quality standards, even further refinement will still be needed.

Manufacturing

For use in foundries and mills, scrap metal is shipped throughout the world. Every year, worldwide scrap metal consumption ends up being in the hundreds of millions of tons.

Ferrous metal casters alone use their internal scrap for between 30 to 50% of their metal needs. Additional outside scrap sources account for approximately 40 to 50% of their needs.

In the steelmaking industry, thanks to the recycling of scrap metal, landfills have been spared some 235 million tons of waste. (This was reported by the Bureau of International Recycling in 2016.) Rather than using iron ore to produce steel, 56% less energy is required when recycling steel.

Your Recycling Experts

H&C Metals specializes in the recycling of metals including both ferrous and nonferrous metals, plus select computer scrap, and electronic scrap. For over 40 years, we have been experts in our field while providing the tri-state and Newark, New Jersey areas with stellar service. If you have questions about possible recyclable materials, our competitive prices, H&Cs’ Trucking and Hauling capabilities, or specific inquiries about metal recyclables, contact one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives today.

And be sure to check out our video about nonferrous materials!

aluminum

Materials Spotlight: Aluminum

Most of us are familiar with the aluminum cans that hold our favorite soft drinks, carbonated alcoholic beverages, and etc. We see people along the roadside picking them up and putting them in plastic bags, while we are able to donate cans to charitable drives. But where do those collected cans go? More likely than not, they are taken to a recycling center and turned in for cash.

What Is Aluminum?

Scientifically speaking, aluminum is a light grayish-silver metal and atomic number 13 as a chemical element, with a symbol of Al. It is said that, by weight, 8% of the earth’s crust is made up of aluminum. Its abundance is part of the reason that, frequently, this material is taken for granted. At 660.32°C (1220.58°F) it melts. At 2519°C (4566°F), it boils. Like zinc, titanium, tin, nickel, lead, and copper, it is a nonferrous metal.

When you look at aluminum closely, its usefulness is rather surprising. The metal loses electrons (or oxidizes) very easily. In iron, this reaction causes rust. When that happens (with iron) degradation and flakiness occurs. Here’s the difference: with aluminum, that same reaction actually shields it from further decay because it sticks to the original metal. But the benefits of aluminum don’t stop there.

Top Material Features

Aluminum is preferable to other materials for numerous reasons. It is easy to recycle, fold, and mold. Yet, it stands up to repeated use and resists corrosion. When compared to copper or steel, it is exceptionally lightweight, making it perfect for applications that require metal that is not cumbersome and difficult to work with.

Aluminum is sometimes referred to as the “miracle metal”. Among other things, aluminum possesses high thermal conductivity and high electrical conductivity. It resists corrosion, it is highly reflective and resilient. When it comes to finishing options, aluminum offers a wide range of choices.

Fun fact: Aluminum was considered more valuable than even gold, for decades. Napoleon lll (circa 1848) not only had a rattle made for his son from aluminum but used aluminum cutlery and plates with which to serve his most honored guests!

What You Need to Know about Recycling Aluminum

One of the most recyclable materials in existence is aluminum. In the recycling bin outside your home, the aluminum cans you throw away are more valuable than any other item. Every year, over $700 million in aluminum cans are discarded by the American public.

Recycling aluminum helps save the planet as well as being lucrative. It saves money, time, energy, and precious natural resources. As an example, you can make 20 recycled aluminum cans with the same energy that it takes to take bauxite ore and create one single brand-new aluminum can.

Choose H&C Metals Inc. to Help You Recycle Aluminum

At H&C Metals, we can cover your recycling needs. We recycle, process, haul, and buy not only scrap metal, but electronic waste and select computer waste. We handle metals from not just the general public but also from schools, hospitals, public and municipal works, demolition, small and large businesses, corporations, manufacturers, industries, construction management, general contractors, and more in the tri-state region and Newark, New Jersey area. We are highly committed to stellar customer service and recycling performance for over 40 years. If you are in search of a facility where you can sell your scrap steel and iron, copper pipe, or aluminum cans, contact us today. We pay competitive prices and offer full scrap metal service.

Alternatively, if you have questions about possible recyclable materials, our competitive prices, H&Cs’ Trucking and Hauling capabilities, or specific inquiries about metal recyclables, contact one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives today.

Study finds nearly 100 percent recycling rate for lead batteries

Battery Council International says lead batteries’ 99.3 percent recycling rate makes them the No. 1 recycled consumer product in the U.S.

 

November 16, 2017

Battery Council International (BCI), Chicago, and Essential Energy Everyday have released a study showing lead batteries have a recycling rate of 99.3 percent, making them the No. 1 recycled consumer product in the U.S.

 

The groups say the near-perfect rate of recycling is attributed to industry investment in a closed-loop collection and recycling system that keeps 1.7 million tons of batteries out of landfills annually.

 

The National Recycling Rate Study, released in conjunction with America Recycles Day Nov. 15, 2017, demonstrates the sustainability of lead batteries and their role in environmentally friendly energy storage for automotive and industrial applications, say the organizations.

 

Mark Thorsby, executive vice president of BCI, says, “Our goal for the lead battery manufacturing process is to collect and recycle and reuse lead batteries and their components. In essence to create a ‘closed-loop industry’ that significantly reduces the demand on global resources.”

 

Thorsby continues, “On average, a new lead battery is comprised of more than 80 percent recycled lead battery material. Every part of the battery, from lead and plastic to sulfuric acid, is recyclable and reusable in manufacturing new batteries. This reduces the need for new lead mining, reduces waste and helps keep lead out of landfills.” 

 

In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that the rate of lead battery recovery was almost 99 percent, the highest recycling rate among other more well-known recycled products, such as newspapers (63 percent), aluminum cans (55.1 percent), tires (40.5 percent), glass containers (32.5 percent) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles (32.2 percent), the groups note.

 

“Our country needs energy delivered in an environmentally friendly, safe and affordable manner and the recycling rate our industry has achieved is evidence of our commitment to that goal,” Thorsby adds, “We are proud of this record and the fact that lead batteries provide essential energy storage to power millions of cars, buses, airplanes, trains, and logistic networks as well as backup recovery systems that protect life, investments and data in emergency situations.” 

 

BCI and Essential Energy Everyday say lead batteries’ applications reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles through start-stop battery technology, help power hybrid and electric vehicles and enable smart grid technology that improves the reliability of wind and solar farms.

 

The closed-loop process that ensures lead batteries’ high rate of recycling is recognized by the World Economic Forum and MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics as the world’s most successful example of a circular economy—featuring the design, production, transportation, recycling, and recovery of vehicle batteries.

 

The National Recycling Rate Study was produced by SmithBucklin Statistics Group, Chicago, and was commissioned by BCI. The methodology for calculating the recycling rate considers new battery shipments, battery exports, imports of products containing a battery and imports of scrap lead and used batteries.

 

To view a video of the lead battery recycling process, click here.

 

Essential Energy Everyday exists to increase awareness of the importance of lead batteries in people’s daily lives. It is supported by the two global trade associations that represent the lead battery and lead industries: BCI and the International Lead Association, London.