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5 Types Of Batteries To Start Recycling In 2020

Lead acid batteries, especially the flooded type, are widely used in the automotive industry. These batteries provide the most cost-effective solution, in terms of cost per amp hour. Modern wet cell batteries come in two main styles: maintenance-free and serviceable. How do these batteries work? Sulfuric acid in the electrolyte is typically depleted when a battery is being discharged. This reaction allows the electrolytes to closely resemble water. At the same time, sulfate from the acid coats the plates and reduces the surface area where a chemical reaction takes place. The ions that move around in the electrolytes are responsible for creating the current flow.

Some Important Facts About Lead Acid Batteries

Lead acid batteries are a successful sustainable non-ferrous recyclable item. They represent the most recycled consumer goods in the United States. Today, nearly 99 percent of all lead-acid batteries are recycled and more than 85% of lead is used to manufacture lead acid batteries across the globe. In addition, approximately 96% of a lead acid battery’s internal components are recoverable. For example, sulfuric acid and plastic can be reclaimed and all of the lead in the battery is recycled.

According to the Federal EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), recycling lead acid batteries is one of the best examples in the world of proven environmentally conscious technology.

Most suppliers of scrap batteries are required by state laws to collect used batteries for recycling and sell them to authorized scrap dealers for safe disposal, enabling effective recovery of valuable materials for downstream (battery mills, smelters and manufacturers). In 2018, the industry had a total revenue of $637M; there were nearly 170 companies in this industry with an annual growth rate of 1.6% (from 2013 to 2018).

The value of scrap lead acid batteries varies, influenced by the global trading of lead, the season, supply and demand, the geographic region they are sold in, and what a scrap dealer ultimately offers for them. Most metal recycling companies, including H&C Metals, purchase batteries by the pound, but some companies buy them by the each. In today’s market, retail battery prices can range between $0.18/LB and $.30/LB, delivered to a scrap dealer.

Now that you are aware of the potential values of batteries, below are five types that you should start recycling in 2020:

Auto/Truck Batteries

Auto and truck batteries are the most common units that we receive from suppliers. There are approximately 21 pounds of lead in a typical car battery. Because some of our customers deliver multiple batteries at one time, H&C will provide pallets and a helping hand for convenient loading and assistance. This significantly reduces the amount of labor and time necessary to transfer heavy batteries to our scales. Our forklift truck operators can then easily weigh the pallets for prompt service and payment.

Steel Cased industrial Forklift Batteries

Steel cased industrial batteries are typically scrapped from forklift trucks and other types of heavy machinery. These units are significantly larger than standard car batteries. The large battery cell units are situated in an open-top, steel plate box or “tub”, with the battery terminals facing up at the open part of the tub. The combined weight of the steel box and multiple battery units make these types of batteries very heavy — ranging in weight from 1,200 lbs. to 5,000 lbs. each. If you are planning to scrap these steel case batteries, be sure to check their labels to ensure that you have lead-acid based batteries. GNB Industrial Power does manufacture steel cased industrial batteries that are absolyte batteries— they are not considered lead acid batteries. If you are not sure what you have, you can leave this task to H&C Metals. We have years of experience in identifying and handling industrial batteries.

Uninterruptible Power Supply Batteries (UPS)

UPS batteries are typically used to provide back-up power for data centers, computer systems, servers, and other types of telecommunication systems. These batteries are often found and used in large companies. They are not to be confused with standby batteries because they are typically larger than UPS batteries and weigh approximately 700 pounds due to increased lead content. In addition, standby batteries are manufactured to sometimes last a couple of decades, e.g., 20-25 years.

Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries (VRLA)

Also known as sealed glass mat batteries, valve regulated batteries are a type of rechargeable battery. This type of battery also functions as a back-up to provide uninterrupted power supply to computer and telecommunication systems. VRLA battery end-users are required to comply with all applicable State and Federal regulations by arranging their VRLAs to be recycled in an environmentally sound manner. For example, these batteries should be sent to fully EPA-approved secondary lead smelters—the same parties that H&C sells to.

Absolute Batteries

Absolutes are one of the best-selling large VRLA batteries in the world. It is a sealed maintenance-free battery that features high capacity and superior industrial quality. It is primarily designed for longevity (lasts up to 20 years) and enhanced cycling performance.

Because these batteries contain a toxic chemical element called cadmium in the battery plates, absolutes must be recycled differently than other typical batteries. In order to avoid harming the environment around you, it is important to work with a reputable scrap dealer or SAFE “home” that is familiar with this type of battery.

Who do You Call if You Want to Recycle Batteries?

All of these batteries can be recycled at a mill designed to process them—depending on their content, whether in domestic or international mills (e.g., South Korea). If you have questions about how to recycle any of these five kinds of batteries, don’t hesitate to call H&C Metals. We can advise about the type of battery, value, proper packaging prior to transport, and more. H&C Metals is your regional professional expert for all your battery identification and recycling needs.

If you are interested in knowing how batteries are processed and repurposed at a battery mill, be sure to watch this educational video.

 

An Introduction to Copper Scrap Grades

Copper is a soft metal with a reddish color & has an array of impressive uses with an infinitely recyclable life. It has innumerable applications & uses such as in electric motors, construction, industrial & everyday household products. If you collect copper scrap due to your profession, for example, a contractor, a construction or a demolition company, or if you do your own repairs, prior to selling copper scrap, it is helpful to know there are standard scrap copper grades recognized by the nonferrous metal recycling industry. The “grade” of copper refers to its value as recyclable metal. Value is based on two primary factors – the purity of copper scrap & the quantity of that copper recovered when it is eventually melted.

These grades were established by the metal recycling industry decades ago and are universally applied by scrap dealers in the United States, including H&C Metals, who buy copper scrap. The copper grading is largely influenced by the consumers (buyers) of copper scrap whom the dealers sell to.  The “consumers” are a key component in the next stage of the recycling of copper because they receive the copper for smelting (melting), refining & repurposing.

The following are the most common copper grades, starting with the grade that is most valuable:

Copper Grades

Bare Bright Copper

This type of copper is typically supplied by electricians and utility companies. Also known as bright & shiny copper, bare bright is 99.9% copper and is a highly targeted item for scrap dealers and their customers due to its high value. Additionally, it should not be thinner than 16-gauge in thickness size and be free of tarnish, oxidation, insulation, rubber or cloth residual, burnt wire, tinned, coated, plated, copper-clad (steel with copper exterior plating) and any other non-copper attachments. It’s useful to note that this type of copper is used to make power cables that deliver heavy voltage electricity into a building. Because Bare Bright comes from power cables, you will need to remove the insulation to generate bare bright copper.

# 1 Copper

It is bare copper in the form of a tube, pipe, bus bar or some grades of wire that are not less than 1/16 of an inch in thickness. For example, the bus bar is used in transformers within large industrial buildings for transferring large amounts of electricity. Number one cooper should not have other metals attached to it, & be un-plated, un-coated & free of any contaminants. It is most commonly sold to H&C Metals in the form of a clean plumbing tube or pipe.

# 2 Copper

Number 2 copper has a minimum of 94% copper content and may come in the form of bare bright with contamination and be tin-plated. Common examples of # 2 copper include piping, tubing, bus bar and some grades of thin gauge wire. It should be free of attachments such as brass, steel, die-cast, stainless steel, aluminum, Lead, etc.,  or other solid non-metallics such as insulation, foam, excessive oil & heavy sediment. Scrap dealers receive # 2 copper as plumbing scrap with solder, paint, a small percentage of grease or dirt, as well as enameled wire, oxidized copper, electric motor windings, copper-bearing, and tin-plated solids. It is common that # 2 copper is often supplied by plumbers, do-it-yourselfers, demolition contractors, electricians & mechanical & HVAC contractors.

Light Copper

This type of copper is sometimes referred to as “# 3 copper” & comes in the form of a thin gauge sheet & should have a minimum 92% copper content. A common example of a product that is in Light Copper form, is flashing– used on the base of a chimney to prevent water from seeping between the chimney & roofline. Other forms include sheet copper, gutters, downspouts, kettles, boilers & old fire extinguishers.  Light copper should be free of excessively leaded, tinned, soldered scrap, brasses & bronzes, oil, iron, & reasonably free of tar.

The Copper Scrap Supplier to Dealer to Consumer Relationship

The majority of all copper-based metal products are reclaimed from scrap suppliers by scrap dealers (such as H&C Metals) as old metal and comes back into production due to recycling. The industries (“consumers”) through which a major part of these reclaimed copper products return to use are the brass & bronze ingot makers, brass & copper mills and the secondary smelters and refiners of copper. These industries heat & melt copper in a furnace into liquid form, from which it is poured into a cast to form an ingot—a block-shape, suitable for convenient shipping to the next step in the recycling process, where a manufacturer will re-melt the ingot & pour the liquid copper into a mold to create a new product, such as a water pipe sold to the plumbing industry or copper wire sold to the electrical industry.

Purity

Regarding the purity of copper collected by scrap yards, copper can be free of other metals (unalloyed), or  either chemically combined (alloyed) or plated with other metals, including Tin, Lead, Beryllium, Phosphorus & Silicon, etc.,   or contaminated by the presence of dirt,  solder, paint, grease, oil, tape, enamel or fiber, etc. The value of copper scrap is affected by the cost associated with the melting process (described above). The purer the copper to be melted–the lower the cost to process it. The presence of other metals or non-metallics increases the cost of the melting process. During the melting stage, the process of separating various types of metals as well as contaminants to either recover metal or dispose of impurities results in higher operating costs for the consumer and a lower value assigned to the scrap.

Recovery

Recovery pertains to the amount of copper that solidifies after it’s been melted in a furnace. If 10,000 lbs. of copper scrap is added to a furnace of which 5% percent of the weight is solder or dirt & 5% of the copper evaporates while melting after the copper cools into solid material again, its recovery equates to 90%.

Whether you have any of the above grades of copper, or other copper-bearing materials such as insulated wire/cable, electric motors, transformers, armatures & stators, feel free to consult with H&C Metals for accurate valuation purposes. We rely on 43 years of metal recycling expertise to correctly grade & price all forms of copper scrap.

absolyte

Can Spent Absolyte Batteries Be Recycled?

Can Spent Absolyte Batteries Be Recycled?

Absolyte batteries, which are typically manufactured by the GNB Company, are large cell, battery back-up systems that are in a rectangular format, in steel racks of several rows. Although most units are housed in a steel rack, it is not necessary for suppliers to remove the batteries from the racks prior to shipping or recycling them (e.g., steel racks found in data centers).

However, since H&C Metals also purchases ferrous scrap, we will buy the steel rack if removed from the battery cells prior to shipment to H&C. We would recommend keeping the cells in the rack to ensure they are as secure as possible during transport.

Absolyte batteries are used for various industrial applications, such as in telecommunications systems, railroad switchgear and signals, navigational aids, solar arrays & generally for uninterruptible power supply in locations exposed to extreme cold & heat.

Absolyte batteries are widely used as a rechargeable battery but their disadvantage, as opposed to a lead-acid battery, is that they are potentially hazardous due to their Cadmium content & the associated challenge of recycling them. They are a non-spillable battery but contain lead and Cadmium in their battery plates, which is toxic to both humans and the environment.

Are Absolyte Batteries Recyclable?

So, yes. Absolyte batteries can be recycled, but you should never attempt to carry out the recycling process on your own. These tasks should be best left to professional recyclers who know how to recycle them. Keeping rechargeable batteries out of the solid waste stream is critical. Additionally, one must remember to handle the batteries carefully before bringing them to a metal recycler. When transporting batteries, the terminals should always be facing up (vertical) to ensure they are not touching metal which could cause the battery to spark if it still holds a charge. This could cause a fire or electrocution.

How to Recycle Absolyte Batteries

It is important to note that there are limited “homes” to recycle absolyte batteries. Homes refer to companies that specialize in disassembling the batteries and recycling remaining components. This happens because there are limited uses of Cadmium. The element has high levels of toxicity and it is often costly to recycle. What about mills that accept auto batteries? Unfortunately, these companies will not accept absolyte batteries because they aren’t set up to process and handle Cadmium.

Here at H&C Metals, we accept absolyte batteries as a recyclable item because some of our key commercial customers have them available as scrap & rely on us to find a solution for recycling challenging end-of-life, post industrial waste. Our customers would otherwise not know what to do with them.

We also pride ourselves, as responsible stewards of the environment, to ensure that potentially hazardous materials do not end up in the solid waste stream. We do, however, accept absolyte batteries at no value. This is due to limited demand for Cadmium, the costs H&C Metals incurs to properly package them to meet DOT & EPA shipping standards, and as a hazardous material item usually supplied in less than full truckload quantities, absolyte batteries are expensive to transport.

What Sets Absolyte Batteries Apart?

The absolyte batteries come in both single cell and stable modules and conveniently have simple cell replacement capability which is less costly than replacing an entire battery bank. They are rechargeable & freezing tolerant – they have a wide band of temperature operation. Absolyte batteries retain more capacity in cold temperatures than traditional lead acid flooded batteries. This is possible since the electrons flow to their initial condition in the cell. This revives the battery charge, enabling it to keep discharging power.

In terms of high temperature conditions, the modular steel rack design provides excellent heat dissipation which ensures that the battery works at its optimum performance in high temperatures as well. These features provide added benefit to users that the battery will work in even the most demanding climate. However, the longer you use absolute batteries & the harder you push them, the weaker the recharging property becomes, thus eventually rendering them unfit for use. Factors such as age and location can contribute to the weakening. Recycling becomes necessary once they are too weak to recharge.

If you are looking for a reputable scrap dealer home that has experience properly identifying, accepting & knowing how to responsibly handle absolyte batteries, you can enjoy complete peace of mind knowing that H&C Metals is the right company to contact. We will send these scrap batteries to the next step in the recycling process: appropriate recyclers for the proper handling, dismantling & repurposing of materials

Copper is Recognized As The King of Scrap Metal

Why Copper is Recognized As The King of Scrap Metal

Why Is Copper Recognized As The King Of Scrap Metal?

Although there is an abundance of available metals such as iron and aluminum, why is copper still recognized as the King of Scrap Metal? Read on to find out why copper deserves its title.

Copper Characteristics that are Loved by All (especially Mills)

Copper is considered a heavy metal. As a recyclable metal, due to its weight, sellers tend to generate more revenue from it compared with other most commonly found nonferrous metal scrap. Additionally, as a scrap item, it is less commonly found by tonnage and availability as compared to, for example, steel and aluminum. More importantly, copper’s chemical properties make it ideal for certain types of non-toxicity applications, e.g., delivering drinking water and making kitchen equipment, among others. The metal does not transfer any toxins from one medium to another. Copper is also an excellent electrical conductor. It is the world’s most commonly used metal used for electrical conduction. In the U.S., Copper is commonly used in construction & electrical equipment.

Today, copper is still considered a crucial industrial item used throughout the world for a wide array of infrastructure development projects.

In addition to its more limited supply as a scrap material, it is also relatively easy to melt, repurpose, and recycle to manufacture new products, etc. What’s more, copper won’t lose its core properties during melting processes and can be recycled infinitely. Secondary copper production, i.e., repurposing copper after it has been mined, smelted & manufactured into a new product, is an important contribution to the circular global economy.

Understanding the Value of Copper

Copper is high in demand for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Compared to other nonferrous metals, it has limited availability and is easier to recycle. That’s why copper scrap is so highly valued. The basis of which all scrap dealers determine the value of copper comes from the New York Mercantile Exchange or “COMEX”. Because copper is being traded as a commodity, its prices fluctuate on a daily basis. The purer the copper is, the closer the value gets to the value set by New York Mercantile Exchange.

What You Need to Know about Mining Copper

Due to copper’s limited supply, its importance as a conductor and component in technology and construction industries as well as it being traded as a commodity, Copper mining is a profitable business.  Due to the massive economic expansion in China in the early 2000’s, global copper mining activity significantly rose to meet this new level of demand for copper products required for new construction.

This resulted in the rise of value of copper ore, increased cost for new copper products & increased scrap value. From a raw (mining) standpoint, less copper ores are also available in mines. Global copper resources are estimated at over five trillion pounds. However, only 12 percent (0.7 trillion pounds) have been mined throughout history. Nearly all of what’s been mined is still in circulation. As mentioned, copper has a significantly higher recycling rate than any other engineering metal.

Each year in the United States, nearly as much copper is recovered from scrap materials as is derived from newly mined ores. For example, although some manufacturers  use newly refined copper for wire production, many powder plants, foundries, ingot makers, and copper/brass mills choose to work with recycled copper scrap.

H&C Metals buys and sells all grades of copper. Because we have worked with a wide range of suppliers in NJ and the surrounding region, spanning 43 years in business, we can expertly advise our customers as to the most efficient copper scrap collection processes in advance of selling it to H&C Metals.

Want to know what H&C Metals can do for you? Start browsing through our capabilities today!

Scrap Lead Acid Batteries

Factors Impacting Value of Scrap Lead Acid Batteries

The common Lead acid battery – mostly produced to supply the auto industry, provides the electrical impulse required to start a vehicle and stabilizes the energy supply that keeps an engine running. They contain Lead plates which account for approximately 52% of the overall weight of the battery.

Lead acid batteries have a variety of applications, including industrial batteries designed to power equipment such as forklift batteries, as well as VRLA, Wet Cell, UPS or stand-by batteries, used to back-up computer/data centers and communication systems to maintain continued service in the event of a power outage.

Value of Scrap Lead Acid Batteries is Dependent on the Lead Commodity Trading Price

The value of end-of-life, scrap Lead acid batteries is influenced by a few factors. Primarily, Lead is traded as a commodity on the London Metal Exchange. Trading of metals, including Lead, affects the value of the metal on the world markets. Since metal traders determine the global base price of Lead, and Lead is the dominant component of a Lead acid battery, the value of the battery as a scrap item is highly impacted by the daily Lead commodity price.

Trends in Global Auto Industry Have a Bearing on the Value of Scrap Batteries

A major influencer on the value of Lead & auto batteries is the global auto industry. Auto batteries are installed in the majority of vehicles built globally. For example, the demand for Lead is forecast to drop in 2019, due to declining auto production in tandem with the emergence of the Electric Vehicle (EV’s) which rely on Lithium Ion (Li Ion) batteries instead of Lead acid batteries.

China’s demand for refined Lead in 2019 is expected to drop by 1.1% compared to 2018. The Chinese auto industry’s demand for Lead in 2020 is forecasted to fall by an additional 5%. Likewise in the US & Europe, the 2019 underperformance in the auto sector is forecast to result in a 7% drop in Lead usage for the year.  

Auto battery shipments decreased in the US by over 3% in the 1st through 3rd quarters in 2019, compared with the same period in 2018. The anticipated recovery in the auto sector in the US & Europe in 2020 is forecast to increase demand for Lead by 1.2% & 0.8% respectively.

However, due to public policy, growing consumer demand for EV’s & long-term commitment of some countries like China to build EV’s, the increased use of Li ion batteries will probably reduce the demand for Lead acid batteries & therefore lower their scrap price.

Weather Conditions Can Affect Scrap Lead Acid Battery Prices Too

An additional factor determining the value of scrap batteries is the weather. In countries with winter & summer climates, after the high summer temperatures quicken corrosion of battery plates & vaporize acid faster, these conditions usually manifest themselves during periods of cold temperatures, causing the batteries to fail.

Typically in summer months, there is an increased demand by auto battery mills (recyclers) for old batteries since there are fewer dead batteries available as scrap for their production levels. If the mills’ customers (usually from the auto sector) experience high demand from consumers for new cars & trucks, the battery mills must buy more scrap batteries to meet the demand for new battery production. Higher demand results in increased scrap values for the scrap metal dealers & their suppliers. However, during colder months, when the supply of dead batteries increases, the demand & scrap value tend to fall.

Scrap Battery Prices are Influenced by Supply & Demand in the Lead Mine Sector

Lastly, the global Lead mine industry also affects scrap battery prices. A 1.7% rise in refined Lead supply to 12 million tons is forecast for 2020. Refined Lead is produced from Lead ore. Mine expansions, greater production & Lead ore output as well as decreased ore supply due to operational issues such as environmental & work force conditions (labor strikes) cause Lead ore values to fluctuate.

The supply levels of raw Lead can eventually impact the value of scrap batteries. For example, if Lead acid battery manufacturers cannot rely on ample supply of refined Lead to meet their production schedules, they may increase the price they pay battery mills for the Lead that the mills capture from recycling batteries. This can result in the scrap dealers who supply the batteries to the mill, to receive higher prices for their battery scrap. The scrap dealers can then raise the price they pay their suppliers for batteries.

In summary, all of the above factors combine to determine what a scrap battery is worth as a recyclable product. Call H&C Metals, one of the largest buyers of scrap batteries in NJ, to find out what we are paying for them today.

Aluminum And Steel Tariffs

How Aluminum And Steel Tariffs Impact the Metal Recycling Industry

Before understanding the implementation of aluminum and steel tariffs, it’s important to learn more about the metals’ demand. Nearly all businesses and consumers in the United States rely on metals for a variety of applications. Take home refrigerators as an example; these products wouldn’t be what they are without the existence of metals. This also means that automobiles can’t be manufactured without these materials.

Without the importation of aluminum and steel, the American economy simply wouldn’t function. In fact, approximately one-third of the 100 million tons of steel used in the U.S. are imports. Nearly two-thirds of aluminum utilized in the country is a result of imports as well.

Countless industries rely on the importation of steel and aluminum to do business. The U.S. government’s 2018 decision to implement aluminum and steel tariffs is greatly benefiting some segments of the US economy, such as domestic Steel & Aluminum Mills, but tariffs also have detrimental effect on some industries and the overall American economy and in particular the Ferrous & Nonferrous scrap metal industry. Below are some of the key reasons, including the tariffs, why the value of scrap metal in particular Aluminum & Iron & Steel, have dropped since May of 2018:

Strong US Economy

While it may seem odd that the current strength of the US economy would negatively influence the value of scrap metal–that has been the case dating back to early 2018. The US economy’s record low unemployment, sparking home improvement projects in tandem with the general expansion of the economy in the construction, demolition, building & manufacturing sectors, has resulted in generating large amounts of scrap metal. The above referenced Mills rely on scrap metal as percentage of the raw material needed to smelt Aluminum or Steel to create new products.  There exists an over-supply of scrap metal and it exceeds demand from the Steel & Aluminum Mills & Smelters. Since the manufacturers of new Aluminum & Steel products have more scrap material than they need, that creates an economic condition in which demand is low thereby driving down the price of scrap Aluminum & Steel.

China Demand

China has been the world’s biggest importer of waste, including scrap metal, for many years. China imported paper, cardboard, plastic, and scrap metal from around the world and processed these materials for repurposing the new products they produce for export. However, the implementation of their January 2018 National Sword & Green Fence initiative–designed to help clean their environment, set a tougher standard for contamination levels in accepted recyclables & has resulted in significantly reducing the rate at which these materials are imported & in many cases eliminated entire categories of recyclables previously accepted. This initiative has created significant impact on the US & global metal recycling industry, and in particular the US Aluminum, Steel & Copper scrap business.

For example, for many years, most end-of-life automobiles in the United States were shredded and the resulting Aluminum portion of the shred product (called “Zorba”), was sold to China where it was further sorted to remove any non-metallic contaminants & the various types of metal in the shred, such as Cast Aluminum, Aluminum Extrusions, Stainless Steel and red metals not previously sorted-out in the US, such as Copper, Brass & insulated copper wire.

Since the goal of China was to reduce the amount of waste & contamination it received for recycling, materials like Zorba were banned. This caused an immediate loss in value for scrap Aluminum in the US. Those countries competing with China to buy Zorba, could now lower their prices paid for Aluminum shred, due to lack of competition, and the demand for the shred shrunk because most countries other than China did not have the extensive infrastructure, personnel or capacity to sort & refine (melt) the metals & produce new products. The resulting lower demand for Zorba, caused the US shred industry to drop their prices to the scrap dealers selling them scrap vehicles & loose Aluminum scrap, which in turn, caused the scrap dealers like H&C Metals to pay its customers lower prices for the same materials.

China’s new standards also impacted the value of scrap metal commodities such as scrap Copper Electric Motors in the United States. Prior to the new contamination standards established, China was the largest buyer of Motors in the global metal recycling market. The new standards eliminated China as a “home” for contaminated Copper (electric motors) & caused the demand for scrap motors to plummet, and the same aforementioned conditions impacting Zorba, caused the value of scrap motors to drop at US based scrap yards such as H&C Metals.

Tariffs

In addition to the scrap metal industry trying to adjust to the realities of the Iron Sword initiative, another globally oriented issue in 2018 brought complications to metal recycling: the multi-billion dollar tariff battle being waged between the U.S. and longtime partners, most notably China.

US tariffs, levied at 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, took effect March 23, 2018. Soon after the U.S. duties were in place, China responded with tariffs of its own, including a 25 percent tariff on scrap aluminum. China is the largest consumer of scrap metal commodities in the world. So when China slapped retaliatory tariffs on aluminum waste and scrap, US recycling operations found themselves on the front lines of the trade war. Contractors who generate scrap metal from commercial & residential projects as well as consumers who haul junk metal out of basements, backyards and garages to scrap dealers like H&C Metals–delivering scrap to us to earn some cash by scrapping, have experienced less money in return for their scrap, since the inception of the tariffs. China went a step farther, placing 25 percent tariffs on $16 billion of U.S. products – including all scrap commodities, such as copper, nickel and stainless steel. American-made goods typically become more expensive overseas when retaliatory tariffs are imposed by China and other countries on U.S. exports. Scrap prices have dropped in the United States partially because supply here has increased due to the strong domestic economy & since the giant scrap market in China has shrunk. As tariffs have impacted foreign consumption of our exports, we now have an oversupply domestically of steel, aluminum and stainless scrap. Since scrap buyers in China hesitate to pay the extra 25 percent charge, they try to buy material from scrap dealers in other countries, which has resulted in US recyclers losing that business. Currently, industry experts say no other country or group of countries can pick up that slack from China. 

Choosing the Right Scrap Metal Recycling Partner

If your business is affected by the above referenced economic conditions & tariffs impacting the value of scrap, having a B2B relationship with a trusted scrap metal recycling partner can help minimize the reduced value of recyclable metals. H&C Metals is committed to finding & selling its scrap to the highest domestic & export bidders which in turn means we can offer competitive prices for our scrap to meet our customers’ expectations. To learn more about our expertise and experience in scrap metal recycling, feel free to reach out to us today. Get in touch with our scrap metal buyers by calling +(973) 589-7778 or using this online contact form.

Scrap Metal Recycling

Does Scrap Metal Recycling Really Benefit The Economy And Environment?

Choosing scrap metal recycling over landfill options is certainly the smarter thing to do. The former is great for the earth as it limits the amount of natural resources that have to be extracted, processed and utilized in the process. Additionally, the option of recycling scrap metals helps improve the country’s economy as well. Read on to find out more about the economic and environmental benefits that come with recycling scrap metals!

Scrap Metal Recycling Creates Jobs

The scrap metal  general recycling industries are some of the top employers in the United States. These industries typically provide jobs for tens of thousands of individuals on an annual basis. In fact, the recycling industry creates at least nine times more jobs than other employers specializing in sending waste materials to incinerators and landfills.

Research has shown that the scrap recycling industry supports over 450,000 American jobs. This is possible because the recycling industry is much more labor-intensive than solid waste management. Workers are needed to collect, sort and process materials, as well as take up supporting roles in the areas of logistics, sales and operations.

Increases Export Sales

The recycling industry has generated nearly $11 billion in revenue for federal, state, and local governments. That is why recycling scrap metal is great for the economy; has a solid track record of generating billions of dollars in export sales per year. This means that through the aforementioned industry, America is able to remain competitive on the global scale.

Reduces Toxins in Landfills

Certain types of metal-containing items contain dangerous toxins, such as mercury and lead. When these materials are processes according to the appropriate property facility type, these toxins can be safely separated and disposed of. Gone are the days when these materials make their way into landfills, which eventually contaminate the country’s water and soil. If this happens, the contamination can have a serious disruptive effect on wildlife, human health and the earth as a whole.

Saves and Conserves Natural Resources

One of the most pressing reasons why the entire H&C Metals team is passionate about recycling scrap metals is that it helps saves natural resources. It is important to understand that there is a limited amount of metal ore found on the planet. Once these resources are extracted, they are gone FOREVER. These extraction practices are potentially harmful to the environment & at worst costly and energy intensive. Choose recycling; it’s the better option. The majority of metal-based products can be recycled FOREVER.

Choose H&C Metals, Inc. for all Your Scrap Metal Recycling Needs

By recycling scrap metals, both individuals and companies can become active participants in helping the environment and improving the economy, i.e., improving one’s own business’ economic situation and supporting more American jobs. At H&C Metals, you can be sure that we’ll pay top dollar for your scrap metals!

To learn more about our Newark recycling center and scrap metal buyers, do not hesitate to call us at +(973) 589-7778 today or send us a message via this online form.

Stainless scrap

Why You Should Sell Your Stainless Scrap Without Delay

Do you have excess stainless steel scrap that’s waiting to be sold? You should consider selling it now because the stainless scrap prices have exceeded 2019 initial estimations and are now dropping. Between January and early September, the prices steadily increased. One of the reasons why the prices continued to climb in the United States was due to the increase of nickel pricing on the London Metal Exchange (LME).

Speculation in the Marketplace

Some scrap metal dealers (Jan – Sept.) believed the price improvement was caused by the speculation of potential (reduced) raw nickel supply issues and ongoing London Metal Exchange nickel price fluctuations. These scrap buyers hoped that the price changes were due to increased demand. For some processors and dealers, it has been a roller coaster ride for them. With all the speculation in the air, & strong pricing, it was easy to forget that the demand and supply in the real world did not match what Nickle was trading for on the LME.

A Bubble that’s Close to Bursting

Although 300 Grade stainless steel prices significantly increased since late June, major stainless steel processors in the United States realize that currently, with the steady drop in LME Nickle values since early September that the bubble is starting to burst. Those parties who believed that the Nickle market was looming downward, causing Stainless Steel scrap prices to retreat in the months ahead, were correct in their assessment of the market.

Pricing of 300 Series Stainless Steel Alloys

The Nickle market has indeed started to decline since about mid-September 2019. The NJ scrap dealers (& throughout the U.S.) who feared that the value of Stainless Steel was artificially high for many months this year were accurate in their evaluation. The prices for 304 Stainless Steel & 316 Stainless steel have dropped as of last month and continue to decline.

H&C Metals is therefore advising its scrap metal supplier customers to not hold their scrap Stainless, as today’s price may potentially be viewed as a great price in another 30-days or so.

How to Sell Your Stainless Scrap

Selling scrap metal is an excellent way to make money from materials that are unusable. You can be a good steward of the environment & earn some extra cash.  If you are looking to sell your stainless steel scrap, you have come to the right place. H&C Metals, Inc. offers professional recycling, pickup, and hauling services for nonferrous metals,  (including Stainless Steel) in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the surrounding areas.

To learn more about our full-service scrap metal facility, & the Stainless Steel market & pricing, feel free to reach out to our experienced staff members by calling 973-589-7778.

aluminum scrap

Why You Should Sell Your Aluminum Scrap Without Delay

If you have aluminum scrap in your inventory, now is a good time to sell it. You should not hold on to it because prices for all aluminum scrap grades (e.g., the mill & secondary grades) are declining. Latest reports showed that there was a decrease in primary metal on the London Metal Exchange (LME). In addition to prices dropping a penny or two below, smelter prices are declining as well. H&C Metals is advising its scrap metal suppliers to sell their: Old Sheet Aluminum, Aluminum Siding, Clean Aluminum, Aluminum Cans, Cast Aluminum & Aluminum Rims & Wheels, etc.

Today’s scrap metal pricing for Aluminum may seem low, but in 30-days from now, current prices may potentially seem strong.

About the London Metal Exchange

The LME is recognized as the global center for industrial metals trading. All prices shown on their three trading platforms are often utilized as the world’s reference price. In fact, both the investment and metal communities use the LME to take on or transfer risk, 24 hours a day.

Understanding Current Aluminum Scrap Prices

The mills specialty consumers’ buying price for some segregated Mill grade aluminum scrap reached their lowest level in more than a decade.

Aluminum scrap metal prices have been steadily declining since about May 2018 due to:

  • The continued decline in LME Aluminum pricing
  • The strong U.S. economy which results in an over-supply of Aluminum scrap and lower demand from the Mills
  • The Tariffs implemented in the Spring of 2018

Sellers’ Observations

Some aluminum scrap sellers feel that the terminal markets (LME) seem to be retreating and are taking primary grades lower. Although secondary markets seem to be maintaining their positions, there is still a pessimistic view in the marketplace. Other sellers, who are working hard to get sales off, have noticed that the prices are dropping in accordance to LME levels. For some sellers, they just don’t know where the “bottom” is going to be.

If you are looking to sell your aluminum scrap, H&C Metals is more than happy to help!

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.