Even after their end-of-life, products made of metals and their alloys are valuable, while usable deposits are limited. For this reason, they have to be made from secondary/residual materials without affecting their properties. Besides financial incentives, the ecological and social aspects are crucial. Compared to the use of ore-based raw materials, the recycling of metals enables natural resources to be conserved while at the same time lowering energy consumption levels. With recycling, less CO2 and other harmful gases are released and less energy is needed. Metals and other valuable materials can be recovered from metal and electronic scrap, batteries, catalysts, slags etc. SMS group has developed pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical recycling processes that offer economically and ecologically balanced solutions.
It is estimated that more than 4,000 different types of metal-bearing materials, including e-scrap/WEEE, end-of-life (EOL) batteries, production and metal scrap, metal fine, autocats, slags, dusts, combustion residues, and minerals, are available. Furthermore, some of these materials are currently defined as waste in one sector, yet they may be a valuable material source for another metal-producing industry. Dust from the steel industry, for instance, is an attractive raw material for lead/zinc producers.
The recycling processes
SMS group’s goal is to manufacture high quality products from metal-bearing materials in an environmentally friendly manner within the circular economy paradigm. The recycling and recovery of metallic materials used to produce pure components is costly and requires several process stages.
This becomes obvious if you try to imagine “recycling” a cup of coffee containing milk and sugar into the separate ingredients comprising coffee, milk, sugar, and water is quite a challenge and requires several steps as well as additional energy. And even if you did manage to do this, it would no doubt taste different. Metal-bearing waste is far more complex, especially when recycling electronic components such as smartphones or batteries.