When I was a kid, I remember collecting aluminum cans for selling at Fells Iron and Metal in Bloomington, IN. My neighbor Buddy and I would walk down our road picking up cans. To us, they were gold. I even collected them from garbage bins at Cascade Golf Course, until it was determined that I was too noisy for the golfers’ concentration. I bought some of my first music tapes from aluminum can money. Willie Nelson, Michael Jackson, Prince, New Edition, and Menudo tapes were all funded by my aluminum can habit.
That’s why I still get excited for Scrap Day! Scrap Day happens when my steel and aluminum scraps (frames, chains, cables, cantilever brakes, used guitar strings, and household metal waste) have reached a critical mass and need to get gone. This time, Scrap Day was prompted by the death of our oven.
This oven wasn’t hanging around in our front yard, so I loaded up everything else too.
I separate out aluminum from steel, because aluminum is more expensive. If you don’t separate, they weigh everything as steel and you don’t get paid for aluminum. Prices are pretty low right now because China is not buying as much of our recycled metals. Doesn’t matter to me. Most of these metals end up in Arkansas, where they are smelted (which has got to be a combination of the words smelly and melt) and turned back into raw product. That means it doesn’t have to come out of some beautiful mountain somewhere. The Earth! I like it. Some counties in Arkansas produce as much steel from recovered products as the top-producing counties in Pennsylvania!
As almost always happens on Scrap Day, I get lucky and find another discarded appliance as I’m leaving my neighborhood. Today, I loaded up this dishwasher.
Driving up on the scale and getting weighed is easy at West Side Iron and Metal.
Here are the takeaways from Scrap Day:
- Never let metal get into the landfills. I don’t know what bike shops do with their scrap metals, but I know for a fact that BGI (Bicycle Garage Indianapolis) throws theirs right in the trash. I hereby call bullshit! Cyclists, bike mechanics and outdoor sports people in general should have it clear in their minds that we are the keepers of our one and only Earth. I’m an atheist and an environmentalist, so I talk in terms of science and all that jibber jabber. My very close friend Mark, who is a Christian, agrees. In his terms, we must be the stewards of God’s Creation. Either way, the Earth will kill us (Book of Revelations) and move on if we don’t act better.
- A pound of steel recycled is a pound of steel that doesn’t have to come out of the ground somewhere. Plus, it’s already refined. That’s got to be cheaper than turning ore into raw material.
- Never leave a dollar behind! I didn’t get rich by throwing away valuable metals! I didn’t get rich ever, but still, it’s money people!