How to Know if Your Metal Is Recyclable

Have you ever wondered whether your scrap metal is worth recycling? This Scrap It guide will help you know if the metal you find in your home or commercial building is recyclable.

WHAT MAKES A METAL RECYCLABLE?

Your scrap metal is recyclable if you can answer “Yes” to the following questions: is it clean? Is it dry? Is it mostly or completely metal?
Here are some examples of common recyclable metals you can find in your home or a commercial building:
  • Residential:
    • Air conditioners, refrigerators, and other common household appliances
    • Cord wires, holiday lights, and other common household electrical wires
    • Cast iron radiators
    • Pots and pans
    • Silverware (even if it’s not real silver!)
  • Commercial:
    • Industrial wire
    • I-beams
    • Structural steel
    • Guardrails
  • And much more! There is an endless list of potential places to find scrap metal, whether you’re undertaking a demolition or remodel project or simply cleaning house.
Scrap It is equipped to recycle almost anything metallic. However, if your scrap material only has a few metal components (such as screws or wires) and is otherwise made of other materials (like plastic or wood), it’s probably not very valuable. Check out our guide on how to figure out the value of your scrap metal to learn more.
 

WHAT MAKES A METAL NOT RECYCLABLE?

The only completely non-recyclable metal is mercury. However, contamination can cause your recyclable metal to be rejected by scrap metal facilities. Remember, your metal needs to be clean and dry to be recyclable.
Contamination can refer to radiation or oils. For example, lead plates from hospitals may have radiation contamination from x-rays. An example of oil contamination could be a car transmission covered in fluids and oils from the vehicle.
If your scrap metal is not clean and dry, you may not receive as much money for your metal, or the recycling facility may reject your metal until you are able to clean it.
 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO BEFORE RECYCLING YOUR METAL?

Remember, for your metal to be recyclable, it needs to be clean, dry, and mostly or completely metal. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your scrap metal meets these conditions:
Don’t forget to read through our guide to figuring out the value of your scrap metal to learn about identifying and sorting your scrap metal, estimating its value, and getting the most money for your metal.

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