Pre-Sorting Scrap Metal for Recycling

Posted By on June 5, 2014

When it comes to scraping metal, the sum whole isn’t always worth more than the individual parts. Though many facilities will take whole objects, like cars and other machines, you can get more money out of your scrap if you know how to break the object down and separate out the recyclable materials by type. For example, cell phones contain gold and silver and millions of pounds of these precious metals are tossed away in landfills every year. Here is a short guide to different recyclable metals and how to identify them and separate them for recycling.

Certain car parts, like batteries and alternators, can be removed and exchanged at an auto parts store or at a recycling center as whole parts. Also locate and remove any brass or copper fittings and wiring for separate donation.

Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals
Most recycling centers and scrap yards collect these as separate types. Ferrous metal is anything that contains iron or steel in some percentage. You can tell which metals are ferrous because they’ll attract a magnet. Stainless steel is an alloy and it can be magnetic or not; if it attracts a magnet, it goes in with the ferrous metals.

Non-ferrous metals include copper, brass and bronze. Copper is a reddish metal that turns green with oxidation and it’s relatively soft. It’s separated by light copper, which is generally copper wiring; medium copper, which consists of copper tubing; and heavy copper, such as water heater tanks. Brass is bright yellow and may be attached to copper tubing. If you find this, separate the two metals and recycle them separately or the dealer may give you the lower, brass value for the item. Bronze is reddish-yellow, about halfway between the color of brass and the color of copper. Brass and bronze are often found in hose couplings and pipe fittings.

Aluminum is very lightweight and non-ferrous. Remove any plastic end caps or other parts from aluminum furniture and wash and flatten any aluminum cans. Lead is a very heavy metal with little or no sheen. It can usually be found in pipes and weights.

Facilities like Sims Metal Management Redwood City pay cash for a variety of recyclable materials, then process them and offer them for resale to manufacturing companies. It’s well known that recycling helps the environment and reduces the amount of garbage in landfills and dumps. However, it can also be a good way for private citizens and business owners to make a little extra cash and for production facilities to lower the cost of manufacturing goods.

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