When we think of recycling, we often think of organic material such as food scraps, peelings and household flora. But what about metal?

Scrap metal encompasses any unused pieces of metal, which can usually be found on defunct household appliances and items such as refrigerators, dryers, washing machines and pipes. Once the appliance no longer serves its purpose, it can be stripped of its metal parts which can be sold. Metal can be recycled continuously without changing its properties, which means common metals like copper, aluminum, iron, brass and stainless steel are always valuable, and will always remain valuable. But unfortunately, many people do not take advantage of the value of their scrap metal, either because they don’t know that their broken washing machine can be worth anything, or simply because they are too lazy to remove the parts and transport them to scrap metal yards. 1300 Rubbish are experts in removing scrap metal.

The Benefits Of Recycling Scrap Metal

Reduction Of Metal In Landfill

Australia has well over a thousand landfills, each of which handle approximately 20 million tonnes of rubbish per year, according to State of the Environment Australia. Residential and commercial waste makes up an enormous percentage of this waste, and much of it  simply does not have to be there. It is difficult to calculate what percentage of recyclable material ends up in landfills, however it is safe to assume a lot does. Many people are happy to take old microwaves and televisions to the tip and dump them, when they don’t need to.

It is simple enough to take to the same microwave with a hammer (maybe even a little fun), and pull apart the metal to sell off. What this does is put money back into your pocket, but also prevents more material being dumped into landfills that simply do not need to be there.

Lower CO2 Emissions

If you pay attention to the news, you would know that Australia’s mining industry is a massive pillar of our economy, grossing a value of hundreds of billions of dollars over the last decade alone, according to statista. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, iron ore, bauxite and alumina, and this legacy of mining does not come without contention. Mining affects the environment in many different ways, such as deforestation, erosion, contamination and changing of soil profiles, but the most important is that it impacts air quality, through dust, particulates, and toxic waste becoming airborne or entering streams or groundwater, and contributes to 4 to 7 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions globally, according to Mckinsey.com. Greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation, trapping heat in the atmosphere, and are believed to be the key contributor to global warming.

Reduction In The Use Of New And Raw Materials

By recycling scrap metal, we can reduce the demand for minerals and therefore reduce the strain on traditional mining. Recycling is more sustainable, more environmentally friendly and more efficient than sustained mining efforts. As more metal is recycled, there becomes less pressure to dig up or find raw materials for first time use.

While it is easy to do, scrap metal recycling is not a free-for-all. The NSW Environmental Protection Authority has proposed new minimum environmental standards for scrap metal facilities to protect human health and our environment. 

Monetary Return

If being environmentally-friendly is not enough incentive to recycle your scrap metal, how’s this for an incentive… money! While you might not become a millionaire from your refrigerator parts, recycling scrap metal from around your house can definitely make a financial impact rather than simply throwing them away or leaving them on the curb for council pickup.

It is important to note that not all metals are created equal (just ask gold about that!). Some metals are more valuable than others. While it is highly unlikely that you will be scrapping precious metals, even household metals that you may find on your fridge, car or shed can be worth more than some other kinds of household metals. The most valuable and commonly found metals around the house are:

  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel

The scrap yards use a magnet to determine whether you have ferrous or non-ferrous metal. The difference between the two is that magnets “stick” to, or are attracted to ferrous metal like steel, while non-ferrous metal like copper, aluminium or brass do not stick to magnets, making them more valuable for recycling. You can do a little research about what the most valuable scrap metals are, and what they are worth before you try to trade them in, but scrap yards will generally accept all kinds of metal, except for scraps which are contaminated or dangerous to recycle (more on this below!).

Why Don’t People Recycle Their Scrap Metal?

Some people do take advantage of scrap metal yards by recycling parts from old cars, household furniture, and white goods, however many more people don’t bother to recycle their scrap metal at all. The reason is usually either that they don’t know how much they can make, or they are simply too lazy to put in the effort. Another important reason is that people can be confused about which metals are recyclable and which metals aren’t. Recyclable scrap metals include:

  • Stainless steel and steel
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Tin
  • Cast Iron
  • Aluminium 

The metals that cannot be recycled are usually due to safety issues such as contamination or explosive properties, such as propane gas tanks. Metals that cannot be recycled include: 

  • Paint-contaminated cans or tins
  • Metal containing mercury
  •  Propane gas tanks
  • Oil cans
  • Gas tanks and radioactive metals

It can be confusing to know which metals around your house can be recycled (and are valuable), and which aren’t. If you’re still confused, you can learn more about scrap metal, or contact a professional rubbish removal company like 1300 Rubbish, who are experts in scrap metal removal and recycling and take care of your rubbish for you. 1300 Rubbish will pick up steel, copper pipes, bicycles, grills, metal cabinets, sewing machines, pots and pans and any other household appliance you no longer need. This option is efficient, easy, and affordable.

How Can You Recycle Scrap Metal Yourself?

Scrapping metal yourself is not difficult at all, you just have to have the time, energy and transportation to do it. Recycling your scrap metals is a three part process: finding your materials, calling a scrap metal buyer and  transporting them to the scrap yards.

Sorting Your Metals

Scrapping metal yourself is not difficult at all, you just have to have the time, energy and transportation to do it. Recycling your scrap metals is a three part process: finding your materials, calling a scrap metal buyer and  transporting them to the scrap yards.

Transport Your Metal To Scrap Yards

Most scrap metal places work similarly. You will get there, they will come out and inspect your material, weigh it and pay you accordingly. It is also a good idea to know scrap metal prices before you get to the scrap yards. For instance, Copper wires will generally sell for around $6.38 per kg, while aluminium will sell for around $1 a kg, depending on the condition it is in (this goes for all the scrap metal).

Sell Or Trade Metals In Marketplaces

We are living in the age of the internet, so you can also sell your scrap metal online using applications like facebook marketplace, eBay or Gumtree. Of course, this might take a little more time than it might with scrap metal dealers who take your metal and pay on arrival. If you’re waiting for online sales, the metal might be sitting around your yard for some time before you get a buyer. If you have the time and the patience to wait for an online nibble, auction sites are definitely a way to go.

There are many benefits of recycling scrap metal and very few (if any) disadvantages. By choosing to recycle your scrap metal, you are choosing to put money back into your own pocket, you are helping the environment, doing your part to lessen climate change, pollution, and also easing the economic burden of raw mineral mining (albeit on a small scale). You can scrap it yourself, call that one mate with the van or ute, or otherwise simply hire a specialised rubbish removal company like 1300 Rubbish to do it all for you!