Metal recycling industry is not an old industry and it was actually built on innovation. Scrap metal recycling was one of the ideas that came into existence during the Second World War when the demand for metal products for the production of guns, airplanes, tanks and ships became much higher than the available supply from mining and smelting ores. Very soon, the concept of recycling became very famous in some countries like US, Canada, UK etc. With time, more and more countries are adopting to this and the industry is constantly going through a lot of innovations that is essentially driving the growth of scrap metal recycling.
Till about few years back, the first step of scrap metal recycling i.e. sorting used to happen by hand. While this practice is still being continued in some countries, today sensors and sorting machines are doing most of the work. The Saturn project in Germany uses X-ray technology to sort non-magnetic metals, allowing for a quicker recycling process and the retention of more recyclable material. In Norway, Tomra Systems has produced the same outcome through laser object detection, or LOD, technology, which identifies non-metallics—such as wood, rubber and glass—attached to metal products so they can be removed and in turn recycled. In Austria, Redwave has a compact redwave XRF/C technology. This technology can reduce scrap costs by using X-ray fluorescence sorting technology.
Technology driven innovations are impacting specific sectors and industries as well. Like –
The global metal recycling market size was estimated at USD 957.8 billion in 2019 and is predicted to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9% from 2020 to 2027. The increasing demand for metals coupled with rising focus on conservation of natural resources and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is the crucial factor driving the market growth. Metal recycling allows manufacturers to procure raw materials for the production of finished goods without degrading their properties. Furthermore, it is cheaper than the primary production of metal. In addition, the environmental imperative also plays a significant role in driving latest technological innovations & industry growth.