Did you know you can make money from recycling your scrap metal such as aluminium cans, copper, appliances, and motors? Besides the added dough, recycling metals helps our environment to reduce greenhouse gases and depletion of natural resources.
A 2011 UN Study revealed:
“Less than one-third of some 60 metals studied have an end-of-life recycling rate above 50 per cent and 34 elements are below 1 per cent recycling, yet many of them are crucial to clean technologies such as batteries for hybrid cars to the magnets in wind turbines, says the study.”
What is the environmental impact of scrap metal recycling?
Recycling metal has significant environmental and economic impacts.
- In 2011, the scrap recycling industry generated $113 billion and supported 138,000 jobs in the United States.
- Metal recycling conserves natural resources. “Recycling one ton of steel conserves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone. Recycling a ton of aluminum conserves up to 8 tons of bauxite ore and 14 megawatt hours of electricity.”
- Metal recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions since it uses less energy to create than virgin ore.
How do I recycle?
Over the years, I accumulated scrap copper, old metal motors from household appliances, metal pipes, and other assorted metal pieces. You would be surprised how much metal you accumulate. I keep a small container in my garage near my recycling to accumulate my metal goodies.
When the pile gets too big, I put it in the car and head to the nearest scrap metal recycling center. You can find your nearest center here. Alternatively, you can search for listing under the word, “metal” in Earth 911’s directory.
I took my old washing machine to the scrap metal center. Hubs grumbled the whole time saying I was spending more money in gas then what I would get for the washing machine. Well he was wrong. I received $25!
Bear in mind, you might only receive a couple of bucks when you have a light load. Heck, it is better than throwing it in a landfill.
Just an FYI. I have been at the recycling center and saw people bring in broken brass lamps, aluminum cans by the 100s, wire, and pipes. If it is metal, it can be recycled.
So how do you know what you can recycle?
Each center has different rules, but the rule of thumb is
- aluminium like gutters and cans
- stainless steel
- steel pipes
Read here for a detailed list of the types of metal that can be recycled.
Basically, I take my basket of metal, and the center sorts through it. If they don’t want an item, I bring it back home and figure out how to get rid of it.
How do you know which type of metal you have?
Take a magnet. If it sticks to the “metal” it is ferrous metal such as steel or iron. However, if the magnet doesn’t stick, you have a non-ferrous metal such as copper, stainless steel, lead, zinc or bronze. These metals are more valuable and will get you more money.
Don’t Stop at Metals. Think about Electronics.
In 2011, more than 4.4 million tons of used electronic equipment were recycled. More than 70% of the material contains specific grade commodities including scrap metals, plastic, and glass.
If you decide to recycle your electronics at a scrap metal place, make sure they are certified by a third party such as CertifyMeRecycling or a responsible recycler as to how they dispose of the materials.
For information as to why electronic recycling is so important and where to recycle or give away, read here.
Join the Conversation
Do you recycle your scrap metal?