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Disposal of swarf

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John Roach 103/09/2021 09:36:08
7 forum posts

Good Morning People

Finally finished setting up my new (to me) lathe.. Lots of projects underway. Just one question how do you dispose of swarf? Standard rubbish, recycling?



steamdave03/09/2021 12:18:22
495 forum posts
39 photos

I bag mine up in industrial plastic bags then when I've got sufficient waste of all kinds, I take a trip to the recycling centre. If I'm getting short of bags (very rarely), I'll empty them and fill them up a 2nd or even 3rd time. 4 EU. for a car load of waste every few months won't break the bank.

The Emerald Isle

Howard Lewis03/09/2021 12:56:46
5751 forum posts
13 photos

I put mine into empty, cleaned, food tins, and pound it down with apiece of 1.5" bar, before replacing the lid and hammering the side over to retain the lid.

The tins then go for recycling as scrap metal.


Ady103/09/2021 13:13:41
4910 forum posts
726 photos

I fill up those decent sized paper carrier bags, tie it off at the top when full and chuck it into the recycling

The magnets/linear motors chuck it out at the recycling centre with the tin cans and aluminium

Brian H03/09/2021 13:25:31
2298 forum posts
112 photos

My M.E. club collects all scrap and weights it in, making about £800 per year towards club funds.


Martin Connelly03/09/2021 13:26:32
2020 forum posts
214 photos

There is someone near where I live who collects scrap metal. I give him a call when I have a pile in strong refuse sacks (with aluminium drink cans thrown in to make it worth his while) and leave it out at an arranged time and date for him to pick up.

Martin C

Thor 🇳🇴03/09/2021 13:47:18
1483 forum posts
41 photos

There is a milling, turning and welding shop not far from where I live and the owner allows me to empty my bags of steel swarf and offcuts in his skip.


ega03/09/2021 14:39:09
2402 forum posts
196 photos

I understand that industry goes to some trouble to remove the cutting oil, etc from swarf.

How much difference does this contaminant make?

Pete Rimmer03/09/2021 14:53:27
1127 forum posts
70 photos

I cram it into rubble sacks and lob it in the skip at work. If I didn't have a slkip I'd put it in the front garden for a passing scrappy.

Oldiron03/09/2021 17:47:45
911 forum posts
40 photos

I registered with my local metal scrap dealer. It was easy and free to do. As i save or collect all my metal scrap and take it in from family & friends I make a profit a couple of times a year when I weigh it in. Old motors,batteries, copper, brass & wire scrap is weighed seperately & adds to the value. They pay direct onto my Visa card or cheque if needed.


Chris Crew03/09/2021 18:01:14
179 forum posts

You can dispose of it in several ways, provided they are environmentally responsible, but I keep a plastic dustbin in the workshop into which all swarf and offcuts are tossed. When it's full I take it to the local waste facility and empty it into the scrap metal skip.

Henry Brown03/09/2021 19:01:30
510 forum posts
106 photos

Our local tip has a skip for metal recycling, car bits, old bikes etc. I put mine in a smallish strong waste bin, when that's full I empty I pop to the tip and dump it in the skip.

larry phelan 104/09/2021 14:20:47
1141 forum posts
14 photos

I recycle my scrap in my local centre, they take almost everything and all for 2 Euro !

No excuse to dump anything in The Sunny South East !

noel shelley04/09/2021 14:53:04
1021 forum posts
19 photos

Copper was about £5 a kilo scrap, brass I melt down and reuse.

Bazyle04/09/2021 15:51:03
6181 forum posts
222 photos

I take anything with metal I can get from neighbours to a group of people with learning difficulties who pull it apart to recover the metal. It is both occupational therapy and gives them a small reward to keep the centre going. You might find such a group near you.

Bill Pudney05/09/2021 21:24:41
591 forum posts
24 photos
Posted by ega on 03/09/2021 14:39:09:

I understand that industry goes to some trouble to remove the cutting oil, etc from swarf.

How much difference does this contaminant make?

One of my last projects before retirement was the acquisition of a swarf compactor. The scrappy who was contracted to collect our swarf paid a significantly better price for clean compacted swarf compared to dirty "oily" uncompacted swarf, so we had a washing stage in the process. Interestingly (well, I thought so!) , the coolant which was drained from the swarf, was itself collected, filtered and cleaned, then reused. The Boss, who was a Yorkshireman was suitably impressed (as only a Yorkshireman can be impressed) that we could get a (modest) income stream from coolant collection and swarf compaction!



Bazyle05/09/2021 21:39:22
6181 forum posts
222 photos

If you read the PM forum there are threads from commercial CNC machine shops discussing the cost of lost coolant even with centrifuges trying to wash swarf and recover it. When you think of the surface area of a ton of swarf even a monomolecular layer amounts to a lot of gallons of oil.

ega05/09/2021 21:48:38
2402 forum posts
196 photos

Thanks to both.

Interesting that the compaction is important, too.

Bill Pudney05/09/2021 23:29:59
591 forum posts
24 photos

There were many reasons for investigating the use of a compactor, 1/ We were filling up multiple skips per week with swarf. 2/ Said swarf being oily was dripping all over the area and causing concern because of groundwater contamination. Yes there is "groundwater" in South Australia, the driest State in the driest Continent!! 3/ Swarf had a fairly low recycling value, because it was dirty and low density.

The compactor ended up compacting the cleaned swarf to better than 90% of the density of the bar material, at least for the al.alloy swarf which was about 95% of the swarf generated. In fact the "pucks" generated by the compactor were machinable!! The scrappy liked it because instead of the 5 round trips of about 15km per week, they were able to make less than one trip per week, with many obvious benefits.

The recycler paid a premium for the compacted swarf, as it was clean and didn't require any operations (like cleaning) before dropping in the bucket to be melted.

I retired before it had paid for itself, but I believe that after 12 years it's still going strong.



Bob Worsley07/09/2021 16:31:13
104 forum posts

Seems to me that this is waste from a normal domestic household. Some have hobbies of cooking, or woodwork, or tapestry, dog and other animal waste or anything else. So the black bin takes it all, discrimination otherwise. Of course if you have 50kg then take it to the scrappy.

Our council produced a list of the only items to go in a black bin. Didn't include animal waste, sanitary products, even and old sticking plaster. These people are real dummies, how do they dispose of some paper towels covered in little Johny's sick?

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