A variety of commercial enterprises leave money on the table by failing to recycle all the scrap metal they can. But rather than a symptom of laziness or apathy, this is probably due to the unfamiliarity most business people have with metal and the recycling industry.
Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the basic metals that are suitable for recycling, and learn which ones are likely worth your time and labor to transport to a recycling facility.
Iron is used in the construction of several different types of goods, spanning the spectrum from the brake rotors on the cars in a service fleet to the cast iron frying pans in a commercial kitchen. Iron-based metals are known as ferrous metals, and although they may be worth your time to recycle, they rarely fetch high prices at a recycling facility.
Steel is perhaps the most commonly encountered metal, as it is used in a wide variety of applications and products. Most appliances – including refrigerators, washing machines and ovens – are primarily constructed of steel, as are cars, hand tools and connecting hardware. Steel is made by mixing varying quantities of carbon with iron; so, like iron, steel is a ferrous metal. If you are unsure if an unidentified metal is composed of steel, see if it will stick to a magnet – steel and other ferrous metals always do.
Aluminum is a very common metal, and one that is recycled often. It is most commonly encountered in the form of soda cans, but a variety of other goods, including phone components, car rims, outdoor furniture and bicycle frames. Aluminum is not worth a great deal of money per pound, but because it is so common, you can often collect a significant quantity of it, which helps offset its relatively low value.
Copper is one of the most valuable common metals used in commercial applications, and it usually demands a high price at recycling facilities. Electrical wires, plumbing fixtures, downspouts and gutters are a few of the most common items that are constructed from copper, but the metal is also found in an assortment of decorative items and cell phones.
Brass is made by combining copper with zinc to make a heavy, shiny metal that is used in a variety of applications. Many musical instruments, including horns, tubas and saxophones, are made from brass, as are zippers, plumbing fixtures and door locks. Brass is quite heavy and of moderate value, so it is often worth the effort to recycle.