How to Recycle That Pile of Old Metal

Whether you've been doing some remodelling on your home or have decided to start collecting and selling scrap metal, you're eventually going to end up with a pile of random metal parts that need to go to a scrapyard as soon as possible. Old metal scraps are unsightly, and your local council and your neighbours are not going to want that pile to sit around for very long. You've got some options for recycling the metal, depending on the type and size.

Most Metals Can Be Recycled

First, you'll see a lot of talk about ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Ferrous metals are those that contain some iron, such as steel. These metals react to magnets. Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron. Copper is an example of a non-ferrous metal.

Some recycling yards want ferrous and non-ferrous metals separated, and some yards won't accept certain types of metal because of a lack of demand or a lack of ability to process those metals. Always call recycling and scrapyards before you head over with the pile of metal so that you know what you can bring and what preparation you have to do. Most metals, regardless of ferrous content, can be recycled.

Metals Can Be Separated, but First Check With the Recycler

You may be asked by the recycler to separate metals in some way. One way is the ferrous/non-ferrous divide. You might need to separate more distinct types of metal, such as separating stainless steel from aluminium. Yet others might want sharp scraps separated from other scraps. This will be up to the recycling or scrapyard. It doesn't hurt to separate out the metals that you do recognise, but be aware that some yards might not require it.

Try To Remove Excess Food, but Don't Worry About Most Paper and Plastic

While food doesn't interfere with the recycling process for metal, it's not something you want to be left on the metal for long, simply because it can start to smell and attract bugs. If any of the metal you have is a bunch of food cans, for example, wipe or rinse those out as soon as you can. As for labels and other non-metal parts, you likely won't have to remove those. A few recycling yards might still ask you to remove labels, but the recycling process now includes a step where hot air is used to blow out any non-metal materials after the pile has been shredded.

Once you've called the yards and decided on a recycler, you may have a choice between bringing the metal over or having them pick it up; not all yards offer this service. After that, it's a matter of safe handling and ensuring you don't cut yourself on sharp pieces. If you've got other questions about recycling metal, the staff at the metal recycling yard can help you.