Recycling carbide is actually a very good idea, whoever said it was a waste of time and energy was most definitely not thinking straight. The simple fact that it is a finite resource and the demand is continually growing ensures that the shop that recycles their carbide inserts and cutters is doing the right thing.
Many people are unaware that the world’s biggest supplier of tungsten, the essential component of carbide, is none other than China. Nothing against China, but it does make for a rather precarious position when most of the eggs are in the same basket.
If tungsten is in limited supply, the main source is one country that has a questionable economic history, and the earth’s environment is basically under attack from industry, it only makes sense to recycle carbide.
How to get started
The easiest and most efficient way to get started is simply to contact your supplier and ask about their recycling program. This can vary widely form company to company, but most suppliers have a program in place or can recommend one.
Carbide is quite easy to recycle and there are many reliable companies who will pay top dollar for used carbide inserts, end mills, drills, and other types of tooling. As the price of carbide continues to increase, this a good way to offset the high cost of quality tools.
Kennametal, a large producer and supplier of carbide cutting tools has initiated a very good program to help with the recycling. You simply collect the used tools in a special container and follow the directions to receive cash or credit. This also ensures that the recycling is done in an environmentally sound manner.
Keep your recycling green
It is not enough to merely find a scrap metal company and sell them your carbide for the best price you can find. It is important to find out who actually recycles the material and if they are doing it in a conscientious manner that protects the environment.
Tungsten carbide is quite toxic and therefore requires a facility that is ISO certified and is using up-to-date processes that are environmentally safe.
Once you find a good recycling company, seek to become a partner with them, a mutually beneficial relationship that is built on trust.
As time passes this will become more significant and will save time and money, as well as keep the recycling program green and profitable.
A good way to motivate employees is to set up a shop fund that is financed by the recycling savings. Even simple things like a pizza party every once in a while or a seasonal incentive check can be a great motivator.