News / Blog / 09.23.2020

Five Ways You Can Improve Your Recycled Material Values

Five Ways You Can Improve Your Recycled Material Values - Image

by Bo Howard, National Accounts Manager

Recycling is more essential than ever due to limited natural resources, the cost and energy required to mine virgin materials, and the demand for recycled materials in the marketplace.


Recycling can also be a key driver of important metrics in a manufacturing business, advancing sustainability goals and providing a revenue stream for ferrous and nonferrous metal scrap. A good recycling program will be designed to enhance both. And while no two manufacturing operations are the same, our years of experience in building and executing recycling programs have revealed five common ways most companies can maximize the value of their recyclables and in some cases, reduce costs. Further, you can make these adjustments on your own without bringing outside people into your facility. Let’s get started.


#1 – Weight 

How much material are you sending each time you have your recyclables picked up? There are fixed costs at play for every service because the truck drives the same distance and it takes the driver the same amount of time whether they are picking up 400 pounds or 44,000 pounds. 


Are you shipping consistent weights? Collect and look back at your past settlement statements to find out (or if you’re already a Shapiro Metals customer, check your Sustainability Dashboard). With better loading or equipment, could you ship more material at a time? By maximizing the weight of each shipment, you lower the carbon emissions that your program generates and you get the most bang for your buck from each pickup. 


If you work with Shapiro Metals, we can help you figure out how to best maximize each pickup to provide the most value. We can also document your savings and report it in a way that will allow your company to track it towards your environmental goals. 


#2 – Collection points 

The next time you walk your facility, try to notice how far your recyclables have to travel. Are there convenient collection sites that minimize wasted movements? Are your employees spending time needlessly handling scrap material when they could be making your products? Think of it this way: every time an employee handles your recycling, it’s worth less money. 


Moving your collection points within easy reach of team members will enhance your efficiency. If you need guidance on how to accomplish that, we can help!


#3 –  Sorting 

One of the biggest revenue enhancers is sorting because your material is worth more when it’s sorted by material type. If a recycler has to separate steel from aluminum, brass, or plastic, it’s all worth less than it would be otherwise. The better it is sorted, the more money you make. At Shapiro Metals, we want that extra revenue to be yours—we’ve successfully helped hundreds of manufacturers improve their material segregation.


#4 – Moisture 

Moisture content in recyclables can come from a variety of sources—from a CNC machining process, to a heavy afternoon rainstorm. When you see a deduction for moisture, how do you know it’s correct? If a container has been outside during heavy rain, it can be hard to determine what’s accurate. Moisture in your recyclable materials also has the potential to create environmental challenges at your site. Protecting your recyclables from the elements is one way to reduce their exposure to excess moisture.


At Shapiro Metals, we have a variety of ways to identify and minimize these types of issues because they are hard to verify. We also have a detailed and repeatable way to measure cutting fluids and moisture content on turnings. When you work with us, we check moisture content regularly to make sure your levels are consistent with what both Shapiro and you expect. To learn more about the value of accurate moisture content readings, check out this case study.


#5 – Waste to Landfill 

Nonmetals recycling in manufacturing has become more widespread, yet more costly in recent years. Many manufacturers are looking at the balance between paying for responsible recycling versus landfilling items until things improve. You might be surprised at how often it’s a better choice to recycle, even at a cost, than to landfill. At the end of the day, if you could recycle something for an equal price, or for less money than throwing it away, wouldn’t you? Plus, many recyclable items can generate revenue with the right program.