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Ferrous Metals

Source of recycled ferrous metals

In Austria, some 42.450 tonnes of ferrous (iron-containing) metals are recovered from waste electrical and electronic equipment each year. That’s the equivalent of about 42.250 midsized cars, or about 5.8 times the mass of the Eiffel Tower in  Paris.

The table and graph below provide an overview of how much ferrous metal is recycled from each of the five collection and processing categories used in the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Ferrous metals Mass [t] Proportion [%]
Large electrical appliances 18.321 43,16
Small appliances and devices 14.367 33,85
Display devices 1.611 3,79
Refrigerators and freezers 7.717 18,18
Device batteries 431 1,02
Total 42,446 100,00

Source of recovered ferrous metals (2017 data)


Source of recovered ferrous metals (2017 data)


Recyclingprozesse Eisen-Metalle

The ferrous metal portion is recovered primarily from the collection and processing categories for large appliancessmall appliances and devicesrefrigerators and freezers, and display devices, along with a small amount from device batteries. In the recycling process, the devices collected in these categories are broken down into small pieces, and the ferrous metal portion is separated out by magnetic separators.

In Austria, most large appliances are broken down in one of six large shredders, while small appliances and devices and refrigerators and freezers are mostly processed with smaller shredders or smashers. The ferrous metals in display devices are mostly recovered from metallic frame parts and electron beam units through manual disassembly of the devices.
Large shredders break down equipment with spinning hammers attached to a central shaft. These shredders can break down entire cars into fist-sized chunks, and can therefore handle nearly any large appliance quite easily too. For images of a large-capacity shredder and a brief technical description, see e.g. the website of Müller Guttenbrunn (www.mgg-recycling.com/?p=3488). The “How It Works” item includes a brief animated depiction of the shredding process. Further pictures and descriptions can be found under the following links:

Once the devices and appliances have been broken down, the ferrous metals are extracted with a magnet, e.g. by using an overbelt magnetic separator, a magnetic roller, or a magnetic drum. Images and brief technical descriptions of these can be found e.g. on the home pages of companies like Steinert (under “Products”) and IFE under (“Magnetic Technology”).

Once the ferrous metals have been sorted for recycling, large recycling companies deliver them right back to steel mills, where they are fed into the smelting process.

Further Information can be found at the website of Höpperger in tyrol, www.hoepperger.at/ear/


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