Metal, the scrap industry’s raw material, has had a profound effect on civilization. Research reveals that an exact date of man’s first interest in metals, in the dawn of prehistory, will never be more than hypothetical. It can be asserted more confidently, however, that the use of copper occurred during the fifth millennium B.C., at least six thousand years ago. The earliest alloy bronzes date back to the fourth millennium B.C., in what is now Iran and Iraq.

The production of iron by humans probably began sometime after 2000 B.C., in southwest or south central Asia, perhaps in the Caucasus region. This began the Iron Age, when iron replaced bronze in implements and weapons. For over 3,000 years, iron formed the material basis for human civilization, in Europe, Africa and Asia, until it was replaced by steel around 1870 A.D. (This coincided with the development of the open hearth process which trumped the Bessemer process).

If there is ambivalence in pinpointing the beginnings of metals, the beginning of the recycling industry is a total mystery. But we will hazard a guess that where there was metal, mined, melted, hammered and transformed into useful objects, there was also recycling. The process of transforming scrap back to usable products required common sense.

Today, those in our industry sit in the middle. With our left hand, we develop sources from whom we buy scrap, our raw material. With our right hand, we market our material by building relationships of trust with the consumer. In the middle, we prepare the raw material to consumer specifications, ship on time, sell to supply consumers on a consistent basis and deliver at competitive pricing.

Scrap is analogous to mining. We must pay a price that brings unprepared material to our yards and warehouses. Our raw material comes from industrial production, the wrecking or deconstruction business, railroads and obsolete metals from homes, farms and industry.

To be objective, scrap is a critical commodity. By recycling this material, we are saving landfills and stretching the life of mineral reserves.