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What Do I Need to Know About Scrap Metal Recycling?

Recycling aluminum saves about 95 percent of the energy it takes to make new aluminum.
Scrap metal recycling plants often take a variety of metal materials.
Prices for scrap metal are usually based on the material's weight.
Aluminum soda cans can be recycled at a scrap metal center.
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  • Written By: Ken Black
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 December 2014
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Scrap metal recycling is one of the easiest ways to not only help the environment, but also make a little additional money as well. There are many different types of metals that can be recycled, some of which are in great demand. In fact, in some cases, the demand for metal has become so high, that many may even steal simply to get scrap metal. However, recycling scrap metal can be done in legitimate ways as well.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), scrap metal recycling has become a huge business. In fact, more than 70 million metric tons of metal material are recycled each year. This represents approximately half of the total supply in the United States. Recycling metal to such a degree not only helps bring down the prices by increasing the supply, it also saves the environment from mining efforts that would, no doubt, need to take place if this alternative supply were not in place.

Many may choose scrap metal recycling as a way to earn some additional money. While many are familiar with recycling aluminum cans through a municipal recycling program or through a state deposit system, other metals can also be recycled. Popular metals include aluminum, iron, lead, steel and copper. Some of these may be worth more than others. However, like any commodity, the price could change on a daily basis.

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For those who are interested in scrap metal recycling, either as a side business or simply because there is some of this material laying around the home, it is important to understand that there are differences in prices based on metal. Therefore, those bringing metal to scrap dealers should understand what they have and how much it weighs. In most cases, these factors will be the most important when determining what the price will be.

Those who turn to scrap metal recycling may find the process is much easier than they imagine. Abandoned material that is worth money can be found nearly anywhere. Further, those who wish to take it an additional step may find they can work with plumbers and contractors to take metal away from a jobsite. This should provide a steady supply of valuable materials. Once collected, the materials can be stripped down to take the valuable metal out. It may be possible to deliver an entire hot water heater, for example, to a recycler and allow them the opportunity to strip it down. However, this may not bring as high of a price as material that is ready to go. Before doing this, it is important to check with the scrap dealer to find out what the specific policies are.

While most people who are looking at scrap metal recycling do it for honorable reasons, some may not. Rather, certain metals, such as copper, may be stolen from construction sites, or even out of cars, so that they can be taken to a recycling center for money. Therefore, for those who have large amounts of copper, storing it in a secured location may be very important.

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Discuss this Article

anon349568
Post 4

We just started to do metal recycling and so I find this very interesting, thanks for sharing!

anon177580
Post 2

These days, scrap metal is not worth much. --hurda

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