Shredder Industry News

August 29, 2022

Trends in Ferrous Recovery: Roll Screens

Tom Stanek

K2’s new line of recycling stars installed © K2 Castings

Our mantra has always been, “Wear Tough, Runs Long.” Whether times are tough or not, costs matter. We’re now bringing that same focus to plastic wear parts.

As the owner or operator, you’re constantly tasked with doing more with fewer people, stretching maintenance periods, and looking for the most competitive prices.

You also have to keep on top of trends and technology changes that improve efficiencies. With advances in single stream municipal recycling, larger scrap yards are now experimenting with roll screens for improved ferrous recovery.

Our customers in the recycling space are beginning to work with roll screens in sizing non-ferrous and fluff for the processing side of their operations. Roll screens have a major advantage due to their ease of adjustability in dealing with compressible products.

As with everything in metals recycling, adapting technologies used elsewhere has its drawbacks too.

Continue reading »

December 14, 2021

Navigating the Current Economic Cycle:
From Peak to Bottom to Recovery

Tom Stanek

Financial data on a monitor,Stock market data on LED

The term “commodity super cycle” is something I’ve been hearing regularly. Most metal recyclers believe we’re in a super cycle; I wanted to know how business owners can navigate this type of cycle, as well as how it plays out from peak to wind down.

I turned to my colleague, David Hunter. A 48-year financial market veteran, David’s experience includes managing global portfolios and equity pension funds, as well as market forecasting.

Tom: Are we in a commodity super cycle?

DH: First, let’s define it. A super cycle is a cycle that is unusually long in duration and very extreme in bottom to top price movement, far beyond what is seen in normal cycles. For example, I believe we are in the last decade of an economic super cycle, which I define as the period between two depressions, the last being the Great Depression of the 1930s and the next depression being one that I expect to hit in the 2030s. Within a super cycle are many shorter economic cycles with upturns and recessions.

Right now we are hearing a lot about a commodity super cycle because after decades of flatness, commodity prices are beginning to break out and show major price strength. I think it is premature to say we have entered a commodity super cycle because I expect a sharp economic downturn in the second half of 2022 to send commodity prices back down — and down sharply. All sectors of the global economy will be hit hard by this downturn, including commodities.

There will be a strong recovery beginning sometime in 2023 fueled by massive fiscal and monetary stimulus. It will be focused on infrastructure, and we’ll see similar expansion across the globe. Unlike recent recoveries, this one will not be led by the consumer. Rather, it will be an industrial-led recovery.

As a result, demand for commodities will surge and remain strong through the decade. This will drive commodity prices ever higher for several years. We will see prices of all commodities soar to levels few can imagine today. This will be the commodity super cycle.

As I like to say, thinking the commodity prices go straight from here into that super cycle is the equivalent of standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and looking at the North Rim and thinking it is just a short walking distance away because one failed to account for the canyon that lies between the two rims. The same is true of commodities. There is a big canyon in the form of a global bust that lies between the current strong commodity boom and the big commodity cycle that will follow the bust.

Continue reading »

June 29, 2021

The Lifecycle of Catalytic Converters – and What It Means for Scrap Metal Dealers

Nigel Dove

A catalytic converter being removed for vehicle processing. Photo courtesy of Nigel Dove.

Note from Tom Stanek:

In May, our team attended a few sessions of ISRI’s virtual conference – including one on catalytic converter theft, which is rapidly rising due to the precious metals they contain.

ISRI is reaching out and educating scrap metal dealers about this topic in order to stop legitimate dealers from purchasing stolen converters.

In order to better understand why thieves have focused on stealing these items, I turned to Nigel Dove. The founder and CEO of Vortex De-Pollution & Recycling Equipment, Nigel knows his stuff backward and forward. He and his company have a conscious dedication to the client and making the depollution process safe and productive.

In this guest post, Nigel shares with us the lifecycle of catalytic converters – which is quite eye-opening! – what makes them so valuable, and how you, the scrap metal dealer / yard owner or manager can determine legitimate converter scrap versus stolen items.


Catalytic converter theft is rampant because that’s where the money is. One converter can net a thief $300. Twenty converters can net a thief or ring of thieves $6,000 – a nice haul for an hour or less of effort.

Catalytic converters are very easy to remove – all that’s needed is a $20 Sawzall and a minute or two of uninterrupted time.  One thief or a few working together can clear out entire parking lots. Think long-term parking at airports, rental car fleet lots, and new vehicle holding lots.

What makes a catalytic converter so valuable? The precocious metals they contain.

Continue reading »

May 18, 2021

Metal Casting “Lightweighting” Trends: Impacts for Automotive Recycling Yards / Shredders

Tom Stanek

metal-recycling - lightweighting

Andrew Halonen of Mayflower Consulting presented at the AFS Metalcasting Congress 2021 about the trends of reducing weight in metalcastings (aka “lightweighting”).

This topic is of interest to the metal recycling industry in particular. As vehicle designers work to reduce weight in order to meet federal and state fuel economy guidelines – as well as reduce vehicle manufacturing costs – fewer ferrous casted parts will be needed.

Although more manufacturers are incorporating lightweighting into their designs, the changeover is still met with some resistance. Halonen cited four reasons: Cost, system over component, changing the supply chain, and other material innovations.

Once a manufacturer decides to change the material makeup of a part – for example, moving from aluminum to an aluminum alloy or other material – the manufacturer is forced to seek out new suppliers. Vetting new suppliers and their facilities and processes is costly and time-consuming.

And, while a manufacturer may redesign one part to be lighter, other parts are redesigned to incorporate more steel or iron depending on load, wear, function, etc. – negating the overall weight savings.

In one example, Halonen compared the 2019 Mustang Convertible with the 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible. Both vehicles feature the same platform – yet in 50 years, only 11 pounds have been shaved off the weight!


© Andrew Halonen, Mayflower Consulting

Continue reading »

February 25, 2021

EPA Releases 2018 MSW Facts and Figures; Ferrous Metals Recycling Up 3%

Tom Stanek

The EPA released its comprehensive report for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). The report covers all materials recycled, landfilled, composted or combusted with energy recovery in 2018.

Overall, metals (ferrous, aluminum, and other) accounted for close to 9% of total MSW – or 292 million tons.


The largest source of ferrous metals (steel and iron) in MSW are found in durable goods such as appliances, furniture and tires. The numbers below don’t include ferrous materials found in construction materials and transportation products, including automobiles.

Key figures for 2018

  • Ferrous metals generated: 19.2 million tons (6.6% of total MSW)
  • Total recycling rate: 60%
  • Durable goods: 28% (4.7 million tons)
  • Recycling rate steel cans: 71% (1.1 million tons)

Landfills received 10.5 million tons of steel in 2018 – representing 7.2% of all MSW landfilled. (View all ferrous metal data.)


Continue reading »

November 17, 2015

Economic Impact of Recycling

Tom Stanek

Our recycling customers make a significant contribution to our economy as well as sustainability. The industry recycled 135 million metric tons of materials in 2014. The material was diverted from landfills to produce new products, reducing the need to mine or harvest new resources, with less energy expended during the process.  Recycled Materials

The Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries summarized the economic benefit of this activity in a 2015 study. The industry supports 470,000 plus jobs and generates $105 billion in economic activity. This includes downstream suppliers such as auto wrecking yards, independent scrappers, and firms that provide equipment and services to the industry.
Recycling contributes about 0.68% of the national economic activity and generates about $11 billion in federal, state, and local taxes annually. Recycling helps the US trade balance with exports to over 160 countries valued at nearly $21 billion in 2014.
ISRI summarized the report in this short video.




June 16, 2015

ISRI Safety Stand Down Day June 24th

Tom Stanek

Scrap Recyclers are encouraged to join the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) industry wide Safety Stand Down Day on June 24, 2015.

All ISRI members are asked to recognize Safety Stand-Down Day by shutting down operations for at least one hour on every shift to engage in safety awareness training. Demonstrate to your workforce that safety is your number one core value and that you consider your workers to be the most important asset of your operation. Each Monday in June leading up to Safety Stand-Down Day,


See the ISRI web site for useful resources to use as part of your training. These guides will focus on five topics: mobile equipment, lockout/tagout, confined spaces, machine guarding, and fall protection.


March 3, 2015

West Coast Port Update

Ben Guerrero

West Coast PortsAs everyone is aware, the labor issues affecting the west coast ports have come to a resolution.  However, labor is only one of several factors affecting delays through the western ports of the US.  It will be months before the backlog of vessels and containers are cleared and transit time thought the ports return to normal, if ever.

One key issue which has not been resolved is the shortage of chassis to move the containers. This equipment problem and driver shortages will cause delays well in to mid year and possibly beyond.

While we anticipate better delivery, please continue to plan on a 120 day parts supply lead time from date of order to be on the safe side.

We will continue to post any new developments here in our blog. Check back in on a regular basis.

February 4, 2015

USA Shipping and Lead Time Update

Ben Guerrero

Closely Monitor Your Wear Parts Inventory and Do Not Delay Orders

To keep everyone up to speed on the transit times for inbound shipments:

There has been some movement to resolve the labor issues involving the major West coast ports in the US. They have not reached an agreement, but are making progress on some of the key issues.

This being said, however, even if an agreement is reached, it will be months before the backlogs of ships and containers get back to some type of normalcy.  Key issues at the ports will remain a problem for some time.  There are not enough trucks, drivers, and chassis to move the inbound containers to rail or their final destinations.  Delays are expected to continue in to at the middle of 2015, possibly as far out as 2016.

Large scale congestion at USA and foreign ports is the result of several issues:

  • Labor slowdowns and anticipated labor actions have both slowed ship loading and unloading.  Labor issues at some Chinese ports slowed several weeks of deliveries.  At US ports, the promise of contentious labor talks had many ship early to avoid delays if talks bogged down.  Contract talks continue.
  • US Ports are facing longer times unloading the new class of ever larger vessels.  The delays are congesting already packed dock schedules.  The terminals need more physical space, a problem that cannot be resolved quickly.
  • A change in the truck chassis system in the USA has increased delays.  When carriers controlled container chassis, they provided one with each container pick up.  Carriers decided not long ago they didn’t want to own truck chassis, and the new system has them everywhere but where they need to be: at the port.  The result is long waits for a free chassis to pull containers from the yards, and a lack of driver hours to deal with the delays.
  • The surge in volume and the port delays has intermodal terminals and trucking capacity out of sync, causing further congestion.

The bottom line:  Don’t get caught short on your wear parts.  Be sure to re-order as soon as you use your stock.  Do not delay purchases and give yourself more time for delivery.

November 19, 2014

What is the Impact of the Recycling Industry?

Tom Stanek

NET EXPORT BENEFITS TO USA IN 213Recycling may seem like a recent trend to many, but it’s been going on in the United States for over 200 years.  Part of the industry lore is a story the Continental Congress had to also buy scrap to help supply materials for the purchase of muskets for the young nation.  I wish we had that document around for verification.  I’d like to see the names on it.  Patriot Iron & Metal or Revere & Sons maybe?

Today, all recycling industries play a vital role in our economy.  The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) put together some numbers for 2013.

  • 130 metric tons of materials were recycled in 2013
  • These products represent $87 billion in economic impact to the nation
  • 140,000 people are employed in recycling nationwide
  • As a net exporter of recycled materials, the nation’s trade balance was improved by $24 billion dollars
  • Recycled materials use less energy than virgin materials, helping curb greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainability

Here is a short video by ISRI introducing the industry impact in the USA.