Tin Cans: Tin cans are made from 95% steel and only 5% tin. In order to be recycled the cans must be “detinned” using a caustic chemical solution that dissolves the tin from the steel. The steel is then sent to steel mills to be made into new products and the liquid is transferred into an electrolysis bath. When electricity is applied the tin collects on a plate where is can later be melted off and fashioned into ingots.
Copper: When copper scrap is received for recycling it is visually inspected and graded, and analyzed chemically if necessary. Loose scrap is baled and stored until needed. Number 1 copper is melted directly and in some cases brought to a higher purity while molten in a process called fire refining. The molten copper is then deoxidized and cast into billets, casts or ingots for further processing.
Aluminum: Beverage cans are the most-recycled consumer product in the United States. When aluminum reaches a recycling plant it is shredded and melted. The molten aluminum is gradually hardened into ingot form. These ingots can then be made into aluminum sheets or other desired forms. The metal sheets are used to make new aluminum cans and the cycle begins again. Making aluminum from recycled aluminum scrap take only 4% of the energy that it takes to make aluminum from raw bauxite ore.
Steel: Steel can easily be removed from other recyclables because it is magnetic. Once separated the steel is melted in a furnace and then poured into casters that roll the steel into sheets. Recycled steel cans may be made into new cars, girders for buildings, ships, or new food cans. Steel can also be recycled again and again. It does not lose any of its strength or quality in the recycling process. It can be a never-ending process that continues to save energy and resources.