RECYCLING METAL…MY VISIT TO THE SCRAP YARD
By: Rita Villa
Usually all our scrap steel gets placed in this giant metal dumpster in our parking lot. Every few months the truck shows up, halls it away, and drops off an empty. It’s out of sight, out of mind. In my case I know it’s all going to be recycled and that’s that. I don’t need to know much more.
But today Gary had to drive in to Metalico, our local scrap metal yard, with some stainless steel. (Which gets separated from the cold rolled steel for recycling purposes.) It was a sunny day and I decided to get out of the shop and ride along.
First, you are greeted with this magnificent rusty metal gate, a work of art that exemplifies form, function, and the possibilities that lie beyond. It’s a wonderful welcome into a strange world most of us never see.
After we drive our truck over the scale, we cross into a landscape where the mountains are made of old appliances, kitchen sinks, and crushed and twisted metal. Giant drums overflowing with mounds of curly steel shavings, resemble trees with pouffy round tops. The bizarre scenery looks like something out of a transformers movie with enormous cranes lifting cars and crushing refrigerators like we’d squash a bug. It goes on and on as far as the eye can see. Every pile reaches into the sky as they stack more and more on top of what’s already there.
The driver of this funny looking forklift with huge teeth grabs things from one pile and places them on top of the other. Cooking pots, sinks, handle bars etc. roll off the edges and into the parking lot. He pulls back and pushes them. I thought about all the meals that were cooked in the soup pot I watched rolling in the dirt. It still looked pretty good to me. Oh boy, Gary would not be happy if I jumped out of the truck and grabbed it, so I resisted.
Gary throws our scrap stainless on top of all the other leftover, worn out items that once had a life of usefulness. It’s kind of sad as I sit there looking at refrigerators that once held groceries, sinks that cleaned dishes, pipes that held water or kept people from falling in the shower. Then I think about all the potential art projects…wow, could I go crazy with just an hour in this place.
But Gary hops in the truck and pulls away. We head back over the scale and out the gate, leaving the bizarre world of appliance mountains and twisted metal trees behind. The soup pot will never again cook up a big pot of chicken noodle soup, but I guess it did it’s time. And thanks to the hard working people at Metalico, it and everything else in this place, will be recycled into brand new items for all of us to enjoy.