Scrap Metal Recycling 101: Everything You Need To Know

Posted on: 5 April 2023


Piling up scrap metal in your garage or yard can consume a lot of space and pollute the environment. The good thing is that you can convert that pile of waste into money and help to conserve the environment.

Scrap metal yards buy scrap metal from individuals and businesses to convert it to more usable items. However, before you sell your scrap metal, understand the basics of scrap metal recycling.

Here's everything you need to know.

Advantages of Recycling Metal

Metal recycling has advantages for you (the seller), the environment, and the manufacturing industries. As an individual, you get money when you sell scrap metal to dealers. You also enjoy a lot more space at home once you move the piles of scrap metal from your yard.

Other benefits of recycling scrap metal include the following:

  • Reducing environmental pollution
  • Reducing the amount of hazardous waste in landfills
  • Reducing manufacturing costs for manufacturers

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection observed that recycling one aluminum can could help to save enough energy to light a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. This statistic shows that scrap metal yards help to conserve energy when they convert the waste metal into new usable items.

Metals You Can Sell to Scrap Metal Yards

The two types of metal you can sell to scrap metal dealers are ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals include steel and iron, two of the most common in homes and industrial plants. Iron has natural magnetism and is the most significant contributor to the earth's magnetic field.

Almost all ferrous metals are magnetic, and the scrap metal yards use electromagnets mounted on excavators to move them around the yards.

Ferrous metals can be in your old furniture, car tires, home appliances, and gardening tools. The EPA states that 27.8% of all recycled ferrous metals come from car parts and home appliances, meaning there's no shortage to the amount of recyclable metal you could have stashed away in your garage.

Other common sources of ferrous metals include the following:

  • Construction materials such as beams and rebar
  • Transportation parts such as drums, car parts, and railroad scrap
  • Shipment containers

Steel manufacturing industries also produce large amounts of easily recyclable steel, such as clippings and busheling. 

Non-ferrous metals maintain their chemical properties when recycled and can be reused endlessly. The most common non-ferrous metals include the following:

  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Aluminum

The prices of non-ferrous scrap metals fluctuate from time to time depending on the value of the metals in the manufacturing industries. Ask different scrap metal yards about their rates and compare the prices to get the best value for your metal.

Which Metals Are Unacceptable in Scrap Metal Yards?

While scrap metal dealers accept almost all types of metals, a few are unacceptable. These include:

  • Radioactive metals such as uranium
  • Mercury
  • Cans with toxic materials such as asbestos and lead
  • Public property, such as street signs and sewage manhole covers

Contact a company like TNT Auto Salvage to learn more.