Metal Recycling — Everything You Need to Know

With concerns about the supply and geological availability of certain metals (or at least their extraction at a cost-effective rate), and with growing environmental concerns that propels us as societies to look for alternatives to the extraction of materials, it seems natural to look at methods and ways to recycle metals, particularly the main ones used in ICT (which generally uses much rarer, costlier metals that have the most damaging environmental effects when being extracted). 

Indeed, the intrinsic nature of metals makes them suitable for recycling and repeated use, which greatly reduces the environmental impacts and energy expenditure associated with mining. In this article, we’ll try to go over the current state of metal recycling, what makes it tick, and what we can expect in the future. 

The Life Cycle of Metals 

Like all advanced industries, ICT is very metal-intensive. Driven by new technologies, the demand for metals, especially precious ones, have risen dramatically in the last three decades — some metals are being mined at 10 to 50 times the rate they were just 30 years ago. However, these metals have a life cycle that is largely impacted by recent technological advances that determine their longevity. The simplified life cycle of metals consists of 4 main stages:

  • Mining, refining, recycling, or moulding raw materials
  • Product manufacturing
  • Use
  • End of life

The production of raw materials is based on 3 sources: natural resources extracted from the ground, waste from industrial processes & byproducts of other industrial activities and metals recycled at the end of a product’s life (recyclates or old scrap). At each of the 4 stages of this cycle, no matter how effective and advanced we get, there will be residues generated which are the inevitable losses of raw materials.

In its use phase, the product holds some amount of metal exclusively that is generally accounted for through ‘metals in circulation/use’. At the end of the product’s life, it is dismantled and divided between its various components, metals being a vital part. Next, the metals are separated by type, ensuring that their composition is compatible with the recycling plants. This is necessary if you want to ensure the recycling process is successful.

By visualizing it as a circle representing a cycle beginning with mining and ending with recycling, you can easily envision the life cycle of a metal. From each node, however, a fraction of the metal gets splintered off from the cycle, because, as we mentioned, between each phase, there is some amount of metals lost. When manufacturing a product, you will lose some of the metal you’ve mined. When recycling an old product, you can’t save 100% of the metals used in it. This is why the degree of how perfectly “closed” the cycle depends on a few variables: 

  • The greater the collection of old products and the more suitable the recovered metals are for recycling, the more the cycle is closed and the less waste there is. 
  • The greater the residues, the more the circle opens up and the more waste will be generated. 

The type of product is crucial if you care about recycling. Product design choices will influence this whole cycle in a number ways such as determining which product functionalities require the selection of the most suitable materials, in which mixtures and with which manufacturing processes? The consequences of these choices are reflected in the life cycles of the materials used as well as those of the products manufactured. These choices also influence the global demand for these metals and have repercussions on the efficiency of waste treatment at the end of the products’ life. If all of this sounds important to you, then you should definitely contact scrap metal collection companies. 

How to design the perfect front garden

Designing a front garden is no easy task. It’s also often overlooked as a priority when considering outdoor space, which is why we are going to show you how to design the perfect front garden with the help of a garden designer in Essex.

Consider the ground

If you have a large enough front garden you could consider putting in a patio. For that of course you would need to lay paving slabs and we would suggest using granite as it’s long lasting and won’t fade over time compared to cheaper alternatives. For people who are not DIY experts, you can order your paving slabs from online and then look for a landscape gardener or local DIY person to help you concrete them in.

Plant some trees

Planting a tree in the front garden will create a natural divide between your home and the pavement area. If you have a big garden, make sure the tree is not close enough to block access to the road in years to come. Consider planting an apple tree if you are planning on growing fruit or a weeping willow which can bring character to any garden. If you need further help with this search online for “garden design essex” (if you are in the Essex area)

Decorations.

When considering what decorations to include in your front garden, think about your own personal style and taste. If you are going for a modern and contemporary look, consider whether you want to go for glass ornaments or something similar. For a more traditional look, think about whether you want a statue or something more rustic like a bird bath (which can also be used as a water feature). If you need more space you could also construct a garden annex, although this would only be suitable if your front garden was heavily secluded.

Garden furniture

Garden furniture is another important feature to consider when designing your ideal front garden. If you are lucky enough to have a large front space, you can create a small seating area by placing a table and chairs which would be perfect for relaxing in the summer.

Create a water feature

Water features can be very calming and relaxing. There are a few options here such as an actual pond (which will require more maintenance) or you can instead have a small fountain which will create a relaxing trickling sound for you to enjoy. Either way, having a water feature in your front garden will almost certainly add character to your space and may make it stand out from other properties in the local area.

Plants

Plants are the finishing touch to any garden design whether in the front or back. You could plan your design around a colour palette and get plants that correspond to that color. If that does not appeal to you then consider using really bright colours and this will really create the wow factor. 

 

Common Plumbing Problems and How to Solve Them

Although persistent plumbing issues can signal a severe problem, often minor plumbing issues can be fixed without the need to hire a plumber. However if you would rather not get your hands messy and try and fix the problem yourself, you can always call on professionals such as ALK Plumbers Essex

For those who do fancy trying to fix plumbing problems themselves, here are the most common issues you might encounter.

Dripping Faucets

In most cases, dripping faucets are a result of a defunctive internal washer. However, that doesn’t always mean you need to replace the Faucet. More often, dripping faucets result from minor issues that can be addressed quickly without spending a fortune. 

Although dripping faucets don’t look like a big deal, they can be pretty irritating. Continuous dripping increases water usage, which will result in a higher water bill. In order to fix the problem the best course of action is to check that the washer is the main cause of the issue and if it is then get ot replaced as soon as possible.

Although fixing a dripping faucet is quite simple, there are still compelling reasons to call professional plumbers if the issue is not 100% resolved. For example if you live in Islington you might want to search for “North London Plumbers” to completely fix the problem. We recommend you get in touch with a plumber if the drips or leaks keep re-emerging as it could indicate a more complex issue. 

Low Water Pressure

This is another common plumbing issue that many homeowners endure. In most cases, low water pressure is a result of a faulty sink faucet. To fix this problem, you first need to determine whether both cold and hot water are affected by low pressure. If both have low pressure, then the aerator is the most probable cause of the problem. Calcium deposits gradually collect in the faucet aerator, lowering the water pressure. A clogged aerator is pretty easy to address. You’ll need to remove the faucet aerator carefully, get rid of any debris and calcium deposits and eventually put it back on. 

Running Toilet

A running toilet will result in continual water loss until the issue is fixed. More often than not, this problem originates from a defective flapper valve which regulates the water that flows from the tank to the bowl. With the right repair tools, a running toilet is a straightforward fix.

On rare occasions, a running toilet could result from sediment interfering with flushing and filling. If you discover an abnormal rise in water bills, look for less-detectable leaks by adding food colouring in the upper tank to find out whether it gets to the bowl without flushing. 

Clogged Drain

A clogged drain is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. The use of effective chemicals can resolve a minor blockage. Nonetheless, chemicals can pose safety concerns, hence the need to avoid them if possible.

Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes are not only irritating but can also cause severe structural water damage to your home if not checked right away. In most cases, leaky pipes result from defective joints in the plumbing. It is worth noting that leaky pipes are hard to detect, and more often than not, they are discovered only when a comprehensive inspection is conducted. Unchecked leaky pipes can wreak havoc on your property so make you get professional help as soon as you become aware of the issue 

How to Choose the Right Shutters for Your Home

Shutters are a substantial expense so it’s important to make the right choice before making a purchase. There are many styles, colours, tilt options and materials to consider. These options can, if you are not careful, overwhelm you. The silver lining is that you can choose the right shutters for your home if you have the right information, which is why we have put together this brief guide to buying shutters.

Before Buying the Shutters

It may be best to consider how you will use shutters before committing to a design. You might want to consider whether they will mainly remain closed or whether you will want to open them a lot to let the light in and to keep each room cool. You may come to the conclusion that you would rather opt for curtains, in which you should have a look for the leading curtain makers in London to find the best option.

Bespoke or DIY?

The shutter’s style, the number of windows the shutters will cover and the material used will influence the amount you have to spend. Some companies can custom-make shutters while others sell them already made up. You may want to opt for ready-made options if you are on a budget. If this is the case you merely need to measure your space and place your order. 

Types of Shutters

There are many types of shutters to consider.

  • Full-height: Full height shutters are ideal for most windows, but are best for taller windows. They run the window’s full height and may have the extra functionality of independently closing and opening the louvre section.
  • Tier-on-tier: These shutters have two independent parts, one under the other. You may close and open each section, so as only to let the light in through one part of each window. They are best for urban homes where you can open the upper part to control the room’s light but keep the bottom shutter closed for privacy.
  • Cafe-style: These are shutters that are only fitted to the bottom part of the window. They may be ideal for rooms where absolute privacy is not necessary. However the downside is they do not offer complete darkness at night.
  • Solid panel: This option creates a near blackout effect and protects you from  outside noises. 
  • Shaped plantation shutters: Shaped plantation shutters are often used with uniquely shaped windows. For example you may get them for arched, curved, and angled windows. Expect to pay more for these kind of shutters
  • Tracked/sliding plantation shutters: These are ideal for modern homes with large windows. You can get them as bi-pass and bi-fold and they are versatile with privacy and light control options.

Consider Materials

You can get shutters in a range of different materials. Typically you will find high-quality shutters are made of solid hardwood whereas cheaper options will be made of plastic. Choosing the best shutters for a home can have many benefits such as making the property feel more secure as well as improving the overall look.

How to Choose the Best Kitchen Installer in Essex

You’ve finally found the kitchen of your dreams after searching for so long. The next task of course is to find a kitchen fitter. Although some individuals can install kitchens by themselves, nothing beats hiring a professional. The skills and know-how of a professional will ensure that the installation will go smoothly. 

So for those who don’t know where to start, this article will help you choose the best kitchen fitters in Essex.

What to Look for When Choosing a Kitchen Fitter

Hiring someone who specialises in general DIY is something you’ll want to avoid. You really need to hire a professional joiner rather than an odd-job person. Considering that each homeowner has different preferences and needs and that relying on an “all rounder”might cause problems in the long run if the job is not done correctly. 

Here are some things to look out for when hiring a kitchen installer.

(i) Kitchen Fitting Specialization

A specialist is a specialist no matter what industry they are in. This applies just as much when it comes to installing kitchens as it does to anything else. Although it may be cheaper to hire an odd-jobber with some joinery skills you really want to get someone who does kitchen installation day in, day out as they will have the requisite skills and experience as well as being able to offer advice.

(ii) Positive Reviews and Recommendations

Looking into a potential kitchen fitter’s past customer reviews is one of the best ways to verify their overall credibility. Another thing you can do is ask for recommendations from your family or friends. A reputable kitchen installer would be able to refer you to other professionals, such as a sink unblocker if you require one in the future. 

(iii) Good Communication

A typical kitchen installation takes around a week to complete, depending on the complexity of the job. Maintaining good communication throughout the project is essential. You should at least feel comfortable with your kitchen installer to speak about concerns if ever they arise. 

(iv) Comprehensive Quotes

Do you have several kitchen installation specialists from which to choose but can’t decide? You should ask these specialists for detailed quotations and compare them with one another. Make sure each quote covers all of the work and is the “final price” so that any extra costs have to be declared upfront. 

Be wary of quotations that seem ridiculously cheap compared to the others. There are kitchen installers who potentially look to land jobs by hiding extra costs, revealing these fees after they have already started.

Choosing a reliable kitchen installer is just as important as selecting the perfect kitchen design. Settling for an option that’s too good to be true price wise won’t turn out well as you will pay for poor workmanship in the long run.

How You Can Get the Best Brick Slip Tiling

Getting the best brick slip tiling for your property can have many benefits. For example you’ll have an elegant and durable setup that needs very little maintenance. Moreover, the contemporary and luxurious finish will give your project the wow factor when other people come and visit your home.

But how can you get the best brick slip tiling? Read this post to discover the answer….

Professional Installation

Brick slip tiling can be challenging and is not something an amateur or novice builder should look to undertake as it really needs the help of a trained professional. By avoiding professional help and “having a go yourself” you could make a costly mistake or damage the tiles yourself. In the long run the finish could be of a substandard quality which will become noticeable.

Cost

Having accepted that you will need to employ a professional bricklayer, it’s always best to shop around and get a number of quotes before you choose one particular company. You may compare the prices of several brick slip installers to discover the going rate in your local area. Remember if someone is too cheap there is probably a reason for this so do your homework when it comes to their customer satisfaction.

Weight

Brick slips are heavy and measure around 30 mm thick. Brickwork contractors will want to know in advance which brick slip tiles you have chosen before quoting for the work. In general, the heavier the tiles the more they will cost, but also consider they will likely be of a better quality than cheaper, lighter tiles.

Customer Service, Guarantees & Certification

It is absolutely essential you research each company who wishes to quote for you to ensure they are fully accredited and can offer a guarantee for their work. Have a look at what their previous customers have said about them or ask about them with your friends or on social media to gauge feedback on the quality of their work.

Your Style

Brick slip tiling should suit your own personal style and the style of your property. For example if you live in a traditional style home that does not have a contemporary look or finish then plumping for brick tiles in one room may make that room look out of kilter with the rest of the property. This can really become a problem when you want to sell the house as potential buyers will consider this an additional cost to remedy.

In summary brick slip tiling in an increasingly popular means to give an exposed brickwork feel at the fraction of the cost. However you should thoroughly do your research before choosing which company undertakes the work.

10 Things to Look Out When Buying Double Glazed Windows

Installing double glazed windows has many benefits including lowering your energy bills and making your home a lot warmer. However, double glazing installation is a substantial expense so its essential buyers make the right decision when shopping for new windows. 

Read on to find out the top ten things to look out for when buying double glazed windows.

  1. Price

As mentioned above double glazing is not cheap but it should be noted that the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term costs. For example you’ll save on energy bills and maintenance costs that would have otherwise been incurred had you kept single glazed windows. Prices for double glazing vary so have a good look around and see what options are available. Take a look online by searching in your local area such as “Double glazing Glasgow“ and see which companies come up.

  1. Security

Security is another feature of double glazing installation as would-be burglars may struggle to damage or penetrate them as they have robust window frames combined with durable locking mechanisms. That said you also need to be able to get out of the house in an emergency so always check if windows have easy access options.

  1. Thermal Insulation

If you are struggling with the cold weather inside your home, then double glazing is normally the best long term solution, outside of fully reinsulating your property. Aagin an online search can be the best place to start, so if you live in the Essex area for example, query  “replacement double glazing Essex” to find a selection of local companies who can help you. Remember, double glazed windows will offer thermal insulation, allowing you to keep warm throughout the colder days and nights.

  1. Maintenance

The great things about double glazed windows is that they are very easy to maintain and keep clean. Most of them have uPVC frames which are easy to wipe clean whilst also being durable and robust. Contrast this with old style timber frames which can deteriorate over time and will require repainting over the years, 

  1. Style and Aesthetics

Double glazed windows are available in many styles. Most window retailers will present you with various designs to consider so you will have plenty of choice when it comes to picking the right windows for your property. Remember if you change your mind over the years it is possible to get the frames spray painted a different colour.

  1. Colours

It is probably right to say 90% of double glazed windows come with white uPVC frames as they are the cheapest and most popular choices people make. However other colours are becoming increasingly prevalent nowadays such as anthracite grey. The colour you pick should be dictated by your own style and taste with a consideration for the style of other houses in the immediate vicinity. 

  1. Customer Service

Good customer service is another point to look out for when purchasing double glazing. No one likes a rude or pushy salesperson, so do you research beforehand and look for reviews of companies from previous customers for an insight into how they operate.

  1. Guarantees

Always ask about the guarantees the company offers post-installation. You should get at least a 10 year guarantee with your windows, although some companies may offer something longer than this.

  1. Installation

Always ask who will be installing the windows themselves. Do they work for the double glazing company themselves or are they a sub contractor? Another point to raise is how long will the windows take to install and will the person installing them take away your old windows?

  1. Payment Terms

Check what payment terms are available, which is particularly useful if you want to spread the costs. Often you can get double glazed windows on interest free credit which avoids having to stump up the whole cost upfront.

10 Tips on How You Can Have the Best Driveway Design

A property’s exterior is often an afterthought for most people. Once you have an elegant interior, it may be easy to forget about the driveway, for example. This thought process can prevent you from having an elegant driveway design that improves your home’s curb appeal.

So how can you have the best driveway?

This post will help you discover cheap driveway ideas to improve the look and feel of your driveway without spending a fortune. 

  1. Size

Your driveway’s size is crucial. Ensure it is large enough to accommodate your car(s). Its size should also be appropriate for your property’s size. The driveway shouldn’t be too big compared to your home.

  1. Number of Cars

Consider the number of cars in the family when planning the driveway. Will the vehicles all fit in the driveway? If you entertain guests and friends regularly, it may also be best to consider accommodating their cars in the new driveway design.

  1. Front Garden to Driveway Ratio

Consider the ratio of your driveway to the garden. Change the driveway’s size to suit your priorities. If you aren’t much bothered about the size of the garden, allocate more space for the driveway.

  1. Shape

The driveway’s shape has a significant effect on your property’s curb appeal. For example, a sweeping option with a floral island in its centre can provide an elegant look.

  1. Does It Suit Your Setup?

Your driveway will be part of the overall look and feel of your home. It should fit into your property’s design and look. You could end up with a driveway that looks out of place if you don’t think about how it looks in front of your house before adding it.

  1. Purpose

Consider the purpose of setting up the driveway. You may use it for parking or storing pot plants. This consideration helps you narrow down the types of driveways to those that are easy to use and maintain.

  1. Borders

Consider the right borders for your driveway. For example, it may be best to use brick paving to enclose a gravel driveway. Decorative floral borders may also improve the driveway’s look.

  1. Material

There are various materials to consider when thinking about how best to construct a new driveway. Some of the options include gravel, paving slabs, tarmac, concrete, brick-paved, and loose slate. Look at each option’s advantages and disadvantages to choose the best material for your driveway.

  1. Space

Ensure you have sufficient space after parking your vehicle in the driveway. The space is crucial to avoid bashing into your vehicle against walls or bushes/trees. You should have adequate room to move around with no challenges.

  1. Think About the Future

Consider the relevant plans you have when planning and constructing the driveway. If you intend to expand your house or add an extension on your property, ensure the driveway’s location won’t lead to significant challenges. You may also plan for more cars for your kids when they start driving, so think about this point also.

A driveway is an important part of your home. Use these tips to ensure you have a functional driveway that suits your needs. 

How to Save Yourself Money When Hiring a Skip

Skip hire services are essential to get rid of the garbage on your property. A skip can remove sizeable amounts of waste, saving you time and beautifying your space.

However, the cost of skip hire can put you off this essential service. You may want to reduce the overall fee to make it affordable.

This post will help you discover helpful tips to save you some money when hiring a skip.

  1. Share the Skip

If you aren’t the only one needing or searching for “skip hire Essex”, it may be best to share a skip with a friend or neighbour. You may have concurrent needs if you renovate at the same time or the pile-up on your properties has reached alarming levels. Sharing the skip enables you to divide the cost, saving you more money than if you opted to get one alone. The partnership may even allow you to get a bigger one at a lower rate to accommodate all the additional waste.

  1. Off-Road and Not On-Road

Ensure the skip hire company can access your property ok and place the skip safely off the road. You can have it either in your yard or driveway. Keeping it off the street can save you money as you’ll avoid the skip permit required if you put it on a public road. This licence can cost between £30 and £100, depending on your local area. Keeping it on your property may also avoid the need to pay for parking.

  1. Protect Your Driveway

If the skip makes it to your driveway, protect the area from any damage. Ask the skip hire Southend company to put down proper measures to protect the driveway. You may have marks or damage if the driveway is block-paved or soft tarmac. Wooden planks on the driveway can reduce the likelihood of damage or destruction as they prevent the skip from having direct contact with the surface and spread the skip’s load. 

  1. Separate the Waste and Break Down the Bulks

You may hire a skip on a flat rate based on its size. The weight of your waste doesn’t affect the hiring fee. Squeeze more rubbish into the skip to get value for money, but fill it to the acceptable levels only. It doesn’t matter if it is light or heavy rubbish. Note the materials that cannot go into a skip as you may pay fines or extra charges if you include the excluded items without the company’s consent.

  1. Hire the Right Skip Size

Hire the right skip size to save on skip hiring costs. Choosing the right size reduces the number of trips the lorry will need to make in order to dispose of your waste. Reducing the number of trips can save you money.

  1. Fill the Skip Quickly

Make arrangements to facilitate quick parking and loading of the skip. Ensure the driveway is empty before the lorry arrives to avoid incurring a waiting charge for delaying the driver. Be around to usher in the skip and sort any issues quickly. Enlist friends’ help to fill the skip before the deadline. Operating within the agreed-upon period helps you avoid fines and more charges.

The cost of hiring a skip can be substantial if you don’t follow these tips. Use these six strategies to keep the cost of hiring a skip low.

The Best Upgrades To Make When Building a New Home

Building a new home can be an exciting and overwhelming experience – you have to choose the appropriate builders, work with an architect to develop the design of your dream house, pick the right location, and get the permits, licenses, and paperwork necessary. But even after doing all those steps, you shouldn’t consider the process done as there are still important decisions to make. One of them is deciding what the best upgrades for your new home are. The key to that important choice is to work with an architectural designer to determine which upgrades will provide the most value to your home.

Here are some of the best choices:

Flooring

Your flooring options can have a huge impact on how your house looks and feels so when you are thinking about the flooring options it is definitely worth investing in high-quality materials and avoiding cheaper ones. A quality floor will last for years to come and get you the most out of your investment, (as well as increasing the value of your property).

Hardwood is one of the most popular materials for flooring as it has the most aesthetically pleasing designs and is extremely durable. Wood flooring is a design that will never be out of style so you don’t have to worry that it will lose appeal in a few years.

Your kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important places in your home and investing money in it will ensure that it is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing. You don’t have to upgrade every single aspect of the kitchen during the building process, for example, you can add the appliances and kitchen fixtures later, but there are some upgrades that will prove both valuable and functional. You can find the right company to do the job by searching for “builders North London” which will bring up a selection of local businesses.

Floor Heating

When you decide to upgrade your bathroom you should consider adding underfloor heating. It’s best to do this during the building process otherwise it will cost you a greater amount of money to do it after the house is complete. Heated floors deliver comfort and don’t require much maintenance. They are also energy-efficient as you can program the thermostat to come on at certain times. Investing in floor heating is going to be a nice touch that will make you feel more comfortable and happy in your home.

Roughed-in Plumbing

If you ever consider that you may want to add an extra bathroom to your home then it is beneficial that you request the contractors to add roughed-in plumbing. It will be useful if you ever decide to add another bathroom and even if you don’t then you can offer it as an asset when you decide to sell the house and attract potential buyers.

Keep in mind what are the more valuable upgrades for your home project and let the construction companies in Kent give you expert advice. It will not only increase the value of your property but also make you feel more happy and comfortable in your new home.