If you need some fast cash, you might be considering scrap metal recycling. However, with all the types of scrap metal, you might feel unsure about exactly what can actually net you some money. The good news is that practically any scrap metal is worth something. Whilst the value varies considerably, you can get a good general idea of what you have by separating the metals by type. Read on to learn how to recognise each type of scrap metal.
The Magnet Test
If you have a mixed pile of scrap metal and you're not certain how to tell it all apart, start with the magnet test. You can use any type of magnet to do this. Separate the magnetic metals from the non-magnetic ones. It takes just seconds to see which metals attach to the magnet and which don't, and this immediately tells you which metals are ferrous and which are non-ferrous.
The Ferrous Metals
The ferrous metals—those that attach to the magnet—are either iron or steel. Whilst they're worth something, it's literally pennies—they are by far the least valuable of all the scrap metals. These metals should be kept separate from the non-ferrous ones to make it quicker and easier when you visit the scrap metal recycling facility to sell them.
The Non-Ferrous Metals
Non-ferrous metals are the most valuable of scrap metals, but they're not all worth an equal amount. The non-ferrous scrap metals include:
- Copper: Copper is worth more than any other scrap metal. It's a reddish gold colour normally, although it can burnish to a golden brown over time. Sometimes, copper oxidises and develops green patches if it's exposed to the elements. Copper is often found in wiring, pipes, and roofing materials.
- Aluminium: Aluminium is usually the second most valuable scrap metal. It's silver in colour, although this metal is often painted white when used in construction. Whilst aluminium is valuable, it's also extremely lightweight, so it takes a great deal of this metal to generate significant cash. You'll most often find aluminium in fizzy drink cans, and it's also used in construction for things like rain gutters, garage doors and window frames.
- Brass: Brass is often mistaken for copper, as it can look quite similar. Brass is a combination of copper and zinc, and its value in scrap metal recycling primarily comes from its copper content. It's a yellowish gold colour, and it can turn dark brown over time. Brass is a popular building material for things like pipes, fixtures, and taps. It's also used in statuary and for decorative objects in the home.
As you can see, scrap metals can be worth something. If you've got some of these metals in and around your home—especially the non-ferrous ones like copper—t's well worth the time and effort to take them in to the scrap metal recycling facility.