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The Importance of Decontaminating Scrap Metal

September 28th, 2012 by Jacob Smith

What we take in here at Kurtz Metals is scrap. But what we sell to our customers is a refined, raw material product. That’s not just a fancy change of words. One of the issues common with scrap metal is contamination. Often times those we buy scrap from have a misunderstanding when it comes to these contaminants. They’ll tell us to simply deduct it from the cost, believing that we go on to sell the contaminated scrap to our customers. But when customers buy brass from us, when they buy copper or any other metal, the last thing they want is a contaminant that needs to be extracted. The raw materials they purchase are melted down into new products or into ingot to be made into new products. These products include things like tubing and wire, products that won’t perform at the level they need to if the metal used to make them is contaminated. And if for example the copper wire they were used to manufacture fails, that can have dangerous consequences.

Another example is aluminum. Because aluminum isn’t a high value metal, people don’t think it requires much work. But aluminum has standards it needs to meet like any other metal. One use for aluminum is to be melted down into ingot, which is then used to make a motor block. If that motor block fails due to contaminated aluminum, that could result in a car crash and very serious consequences.

As we all know, economic times are tough right now. What keeps us in business is the trust we’ve built with our customers. One batch of contaminated metal can destroy that trust. So we look for suppliers who understand that principle, and who are committed to decontaminating their scrap before selling it to us. It makes for a much higher payment for them, and a quality product for our end customers. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

Posted in blog posts, Contaminants, Scrap Recycling

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