How To Sort Scrap Metal For Recycling


Scrap metal can be sorted for recycling using a simple method. There are numerous types of metals out there but this article will focus on a few common types that most scrap metal recyclers will accept.


Pull out any scrap metal that is magnetic and put it into a pile. This stack will be your iron, steel and other ferrous metals which means they have iron in them. Iron and steel can be sold together ans many times scrap metal recyclers classify these as the same when you recycle scrap metals. Iron and steel will be the least valuable metals discussed in this article.


Pull out any red metal. This will be either copper or red brass. If you have wires, pipes or cables it will be copper for sure. Some times in plumbing and other parts there will be red brass. Red brass will be a different shade of red than regular copper as red brass has some copper but is not pure copper. Put all your copper into one pile. If you have red brass put that separate. Copper will usually be the most valuable of the metals I will discuss in this article.


Separate any yellow colored metal. This will be brass unless you have some gold in your pile. Gold will be more golden color while brass will be more yellow. Put all your brass into one pile. Brass is the second most valuable metal I will discuss in this article.


Separate all the aluminum. Aluminum will be light weight compared to the other metals and will be a silver color. Take a look at an aluminum can to see the color.


Take out any lead you have. This will be very heavy for it's size and dark gray.


Separate all the clean metals from the dirty. Clean metal will be worth more than dirty metal. Dirty metal will have dirt, rust, other metals or contaminates mixed with the metal. And example would be iron nails in aluminum sheet. This would be dirty aluminum sheet. 


Separate aluminum sheet, from regular aluminum. Aluminum sheet is less valuable than regular aluminum. Put aluminum cans in a separate pile by themselves. An example of aluminum sheet would be aluminum siding. 


Recycle the metals. After all metals are sorted recycle them at a scrap metal recycler.

metal identification

Comments 6 comments

Tim_511 profile image

Tim_511 6 years ago from Huntington, WV

Nice overview. I'm not sure how to tell the difference between red brass and copper, but it might be obvious with both in hand.

Jezhug profile image

Jezhug 6 years ago from Australia

Great break-down. Thank you, a very well written hub ;)

Scrap Brass 6 years ago

Another fine hub. Thx.

Scrap Stainless Steel 6 years ago

I love it how you get straight to the point with your hubs. They are a credit to the scrap metal industry ;)

The Irrationalist 6 years ago

Not bad! way to get things done! :D

Sathish Shetty 3 years ago

Im sure through from these life become easy...

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