Scrap

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Recyclable materials

Scrap is a term used to describe recyclable materials left over from manufacturing and product consumption. It includes parts of vehicles, building supplies, and surplus materials. Often confused with waste, scrap in fact has significant monetary value.

Crushed cars on their way to be melted into new steel

Overall, the scrap industry processes more than 145,000,000 short tons (129,464,286 long tons; 131,541,787 t) of recyclable material each year into raw material feedstock for industrial manufacturing around the world. One example is scrap steel. Scrap is mainly reused to make other items. Plastic, for example, is melted down into new shapes. A water bottle may have been part of a computer once.

Scrap is very valuable. Some scrap is stolen for its worth, like copper wires and pans. This is a crime in some countries, and many investigations are focused on issues with legitimate metal trading. Totaled cars are often also sold for the metal inside. They are crushed, melted into smaller ingots and cylinders, then shipped to a manufacturer of metal goods that paid for that scrap metal. For developed metals to become scrap metal, it needs to be unused and useless in the form it's in. Only then do people shred and melt metal to be used for other things.