Questions You Might Have About Scrap Metal Recycling

21 March 2016
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog

Scrap metal recycling is a good way to keep metal out of landfills when it can be recycled instead and to cut down on the harvesting of virgin materials needed for new metal products. If you're thinking of collecting your scrap metal for recycling, from home or in a production facility that regularly generates scrap and metal waste, note a few questions you might have about the process. This will ensure you know what to expect and how to talk to a metal recycler about the scrap you're collecting.

1. Do auto parts need to be stripped?

One common question about metal recycling is if auto parts need to be separated or stripped of their attached rubber parts and connectors or drained of oil. This will usually depend on the recycling yard, but note that very often, they have better tools for stripping metal of these pieces and may not even strip them before breaking down the metal in the first place. If metal pieces go through any type of chopper, rubber pieces can then be sorted because they're lighter and easier to pick through after the piece has been cut.

Metal recycling facilities may also have a process for recycling motor oil and other such fluids, so you may not need to drain and strip down these parts on your own. Always ask before you assume you need to bring in only bare, stripped auto parts.

2. Are there metals that can't be recycled?

This too is up to a recycling company, but note that, while they may limit certain types of metals from being recycled, they may also limit certain pieces they accept. For example, items like manhole covers or shopping carts are often restricted, as they may have been stolen. Copper wiring may also be restricted since it's easy to steal it from public utility lines. Before you bring in any such item, ask about their acceptance policies, as you may be able to bring them in with some type of proof of ownership; otherwise, they probably won't be accepted.

3. What is "clean" metal?

While recycling facilities may have tools and equipment to remove rubber pieces and other such materials from metal, those that are free of wiring, hoses, and the like may be considered "clean," and you may get a higher price for them. Also, certain thicknesses and lengths of steel pieces may be more desirable, since they may not need recycling and can simply be resold. If you notice "clean" pieces being sought by a recycling facility, ask if you get more money for these items and if that applies to your pieces.

For more information, contact a local recycling center of visit sites like