Metal Money 101: The End-of-2018 United States Metals Market Explained

Why Do We Care About the Metals Market?

The metals market in the United States affects the recycling industry and the price of metals in the rest of the world. Earlier in 2018, there was a lot of talk about President Trump’s metal tariffs and how they would affect the metal market as a whole. In order to better understand the metals market, it’s helpful to know the different kinds of metals and what happened when President Trump actually did impose the metals tariff.

Ferrous vs. Non-ferrous Metal

There are two main categories of metal–ferrous and non-ferrous. Ferrous metals have iron in them, which means they are magnetic and susceptible to rust. Most scrap metal, such as car parts, falls under the category of ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals don’t contain iron and don’t rust. Examples of non-ferrous metals include aluminum, lead, zinc, copper, and stainless steel.

Metals Tariff

Just before the summer of 2018, President Trump placed a tax, or a tariff, on metals imported into the United States from other countries–specifically a 10% tax on aluminum and a 25% tax on steel. Such a tariff discourages the use of foreign metals and encourages local metal production. Many industries, such as construction, energy production (especially solar and wind), and car production, heavily rely on the use of metals; if imported metals become harder to come by, metal recycling becomes even more important in order to keep American metal production growing to sufficiently supply metals to all the industries that depend on them.

The Price of Metal

Unsurprisingly, metal prices in the United States have increased since the tariffs took effect. Industries using imported metal now need to compensate for the tariff. Considering the majority of metal in our country was imported, domestically-produced metal is now more in demand. The higher metal prices are good for the U.S. metal industry in the short term, but it remains to be seen how the metals market will be affected as time goes on.

In the rest of the world, the prices of non-ferrous metals are dropping and the market seems to be suffering somewhat, especially in the area of copper and nickel. Even in the normally steady ferrous metals market, stainless steel prices have lowered but they still remain relatively stable.

Recycling Remains Important

More than ever, recycling scrap metal is crucial to keeping the United States metal industry well-supplied and booming. It is now more costly to import metal, and that cost trickles down to the products and services consumers pay for. Recycling metal is also more environmentally friendly than mining it. At Klein’s Recycling, we will recycle your scrap metal to help keep costs stable and the environment clean!

Top Reasons Why You Should Be Recycling Scrap Metal

It’s true what they say: one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. When we see scrap metal, we are more likely to think of it as junk rather than part of the multi-billion dollar industry that it is. But the lucrative, obscure world of recycling scrap metal has more benefits than you think.

How Much Scrap Metal Do We Really Have?

A lot. In the United States alone, about 150 million metric tons of scrap metal are produced every year. Think of automobiles, airplanes, appliances, phones, computers, and the many electrically powered products of our everyday lives. Some estimates indicate that the industry diverts more than 120 million tons of scrap metals from landfills every year, generating more than $90.6 billion in revenue.

Helping the Environment

It may sound obvious to say that recycling scrap metal is good for the environment, so let’s talk about some specific examples.

Extracting ore to produce metal is an extremely resource-intensive process. It requires large amounts of manpower and financial investment. It also releases far greater amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere than the process of recycling metal. The process produces 97% less waste and uses 40% less water than mining and processing virgin ore.

Recycling scrap metal also allows us to preserve limited, naturally-occurring resources that have already been significantly depleted. For example, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute, recycling a ton of steel conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.

Finally, metal has the unique privilege of maintaining all of its properties despite repeated recycling. This means that, compared to the production of new metal, there are practically no reasons not to recycle scrap metal.

Boosting the Economy (And Your Own Wallet)

The U.S. scrap industry has nearly half a million employees and creates manifold more jobs than sending the same amount of metal to the incinerator or landfill. The United States also exports about $14.5 billion of scrap metal and their products per year, bringing in huge profits and boosting national GDP.

On a smaller scale, both large and small companies can also reap financial benefits from scrap recycling. They can not only purchase cheaper, recycled metal for manufacturing, but also sell their own scraps to third-party recycling companies like Klein Recycling, and raise their bottom line.

Whether you are a large corporation, small business owner, or a homeowner with scrap metal, don’t lose out on the benefits of scrap metal recycling. Reduce your carbon footprint and maximize your profits today!