With any type of recycling, different materials have different needs. While most people know that metal recycling is different from other materials, it may surprise you to learn that different kinds of metal also have unique needs. This is not only true in exceptional situations, such as when radioactive material is involved. It applies to every metal, depending on its unique properties. Perhaps the most common example of a metal that requires special handling to recycle is “red metal.”
What is Red Metal?
Red metal refers to any type of metal compound that contains copper. While pure copper is the most obvious example of a red metal, any alloy that contains enough copper to take on its unique reddish hue falls into this category.
Unlike steel and other iron-based metals, red metals are considered nonferrous, making them resistant to rust and corrosion. Because of this, red metals are often found in objects that see a lot of use, from coins and sculptures to wiring and industrial machinery. Copper is also naturally antibacterial, which makes copper alloys like brass an ideal choice for doorknobs, banisters, and other high-touch objects.
Common Types of Red Metal
The most common types of red metal are copper, brass, and bronze. In spite of all containing copper, however, each of these red metals has its own unique properties.
Perhaps the purest red metal of all is high-conductivity copper, which contains 99.3% or more of the element. As the name implies, this type of copper is highly conductive (and ductile), making it the go-to choice for electrical wiring applications.
Deoxidized copper is another form of ‘pure’ copper. Unlike HCC, this type of copper is valued for tolerating high temperatures without becoming brittle. This ability makes it an excellent option for welded metal components like plumbing and heating pipes. When used outdoors, deoxidized copper reacts with the oxygen in the air, creating a distinctive greenish coating.
When copper is mixed with zinc, it becomes brass. Brass shares many of copper’s properties but is both cheaper and has a higher tensile strength. This makes it great for non-electrical construction uses.
Bronze is another red metal, but this time created by mixing copper with tin rather than zinc. Other elements, such as silicone or phosphorus, are also often included, depending on the desired properties.
Recycling Red Metal
Each of these types of metal can be found in standalone objects or integrated into the machines and electronics around us. Whether you’re looking to get rid of a handful of old copper wiring or have more complex needs, working with recycling experts can ensure that you get the most out of your scrap.
That’s why it’s essential for you to work with the right partners, as they can ensure that all of your nonferrous metals are disposed of properly.
This ensures that scrap, electronic devices, and other items containing metal are reused or recycled in a safe, efficient manner. Also, it provides opportunities for a monetary return, as the components extracted from these devices can have significant value on the scrap and ITAD markets.
Get the Most out of Your Red Metal with First America
If you’re ready to take care of scrap metal and e-waste at your institution, First America Metal Corp. (FAMCe) can help. First America has over 30 years of experience in eco-friendly nonferrous metal recycling and IT Asset Disposition. Our comprehensive knowledge and exceptional customer service have built our reputation as the leading company for your ITAD and nonferrous metal recycling needs.
Want to recycle your old metal and devices with confidence? Contact us today for e-waste disposal that’s ethical and secure.