One of the most common questions we have received lately from scrappers is about the COVID-19 and how it’s affecting scrap yards, scrap prices, and the industry. One thing that may not be getting attention is the effect that the virus itself is having on metals. If you are wondering how long the virus could potentially live on scrap metal, we have some answers below along with some precautions to take when handling the material.
How long can COVID-19 live in the air?
The COVID-19 virus can live in air particles for about 3 hours. This means anyone in the area that could potentially be a carrier of the virus, if they are coughing or sneezing in the area, those particles can be floating around with the virus for a few hours.
This is part of the reason why social-distancing is so important right now so that everyone can maintain space from others and make sure to keep free from others’ germs.
What about cardboard?
One misconception is that cardboard boxes and cardboard that you are using for packing up your metals to bring to the yard, do not carry the virus for very long.
Originally, it was said that the virus would stay on the cardboard for over a day, but unless it’s in direct contact with someone with COVID-19 it’s very difficult to get.
Some safe practices when handling cardboard are:
- Using rubber gloves
- Quarantine that box for a few days before handing
How long can the COVID-19 virus live on scrap copper?
The COVID-19 Virus can generally stay on copper for about 4 hours. If someone had the virus and handled it directly and you touch it shortly thereafter, you can be exposed to it. We suggest you leave any copper you may have received from someone else for over night before handling, processing, or packing.
How long can the COVID-19 virus live on stainless steel?
The COVID-19 Virus can live on stainless steel for up to 3-4 days. The resistance that stainless steel has, is important in the medical and food industries to begin with, so therefore the virus can remain on the surface for longer. We recommend you not touch it or handle it for up to 3 days whether you are a scrapper or a scrap yard.
How long can the COVID-19 virus live on plastic?
We have read that similar to stainless steel, plastic can hold the virus for around 3 days. With any bins, crates, or plastic garbage cans you may be using to transport or move materials in, we suggest you play it safe and leave them along if someone else has handled it recently.
What scrap yards are doing for COVID-19?
A lot of scrap yards are sanitizing and spraying down bins and containers at their yard to ensure the healthiest and safest environment for their customers and workers.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thank you and stay safe.