Recycled metals workers grade, sort, clean and bale scrap metal for recycling. Once scrap has been received, recycled metals workers weigh and record each load, checking it for unacceptable items. They then grade and sort it according to quality and value. They use metal cutters and burners to dismantle large tanks, machinery etc. A machine that automatically chops and sorts different types of metal is used for larger items. The scrap metal is then cleaned.
Recycled metals workers operate conveyor belts and machines (balers) which crush scrap into bales. They also use hydraulic shears or massive fragmenters that shred scrap into small pieces. They often operate lift trucks or cranes to stack or load the sorted metal. Some drive lorries to deliver metal to the steel works and foundries that use it.
Recycled metals workers usually work Monday to Saturday. Overtime may be available. The work often takes place outdoors, in all weathers. It involves a lot of bending and lifting. Conditions can be dirty and noisy. Protective clothing, including boots, helmets and gloves, is necessary.
To be a recycled metals worker, you should:
Scrap metal companies vary in size, from large businesses to very small firms. The industry is becoming increasingly mechanised as new techniques are developed, and there are good opportunities for employees who are willing to adapt to these.
Demand for scrap metal is likely to increase in the long term. This is due to greater interest in the environment and legislation requiring local authorities to meet targets in recycling of waste.
Promotion to supervisory or management roles may be available for those who develop the necessary skills. It is also possible to develop into recycling other materials. Those with capital may be able to start their own businesses.
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