Everybody Benefits from Carbide Recycling

Users get paid for cutting tool scrap while also contributing to a clean environment and the overall sustainability of the metalworking industry.


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When carbide inserts wear out, there’s an easy way to recoup at least some of your investment and reduce waste in your shop. At the same time, you’ll be contributing to the long-term sustainability of the metalworking industry—and possibly even reduced cutting tool costs. Beyond these direct benefits, you can take pride in the fact that you’re contributing to a healthier environment.  

How? By participating in a carbide-recycling program such as the one offered by Seco Tools. That company isn’t the only cutting tool manufacturer to offer such a program. However, it recently released results of its North American recycling program for 2013, and to me, the numbers seem quite impressive. Overall, the company collected and processed 125,919 lbs of used carbide tools last year. Of that total, 110,585 lbs were processed into grade powder. Over the whole lifetime of the program, the company has returned an average of more than 10,100 lbs per month for recycling.

Participating shops collect used carbide tools in small, medium or large containers, supplied by Seco, that hold 11 lbs, 50 lbs and 2,000 lbs of material, respectively. Any carbide products from any manufacturer can be submitted, including inserts, solid drills and end mills, wear parts, and PCD/PCBN-tipped inserts. The cutting tool manufacturer collects the containers when full and pays the manufacturer the market rate for the carbide, providing a direct benefit to the participating shop.  Meanwhile, the company notes that re-using tungsten—which comprises 75 percent of cemented carbide tools—helps address the growing global demand for that increasingly scarce material. Finally, the company estimates that recycling reduces related energy consumption by 35 percent and cuts CO2 emissions by 40 percent.

To me, this seems like a no-brainer. If you’re not doing so already, it could be more than worth it to get in touch with your preferred cutting tool supplier and see if they offer a similar program. For more about Seco’s recycling efforts, visit the company’s website. There’s also more about this topic in general in MoldMaking Technology’s online archives.