Whilst the UK recycles more of its waste material than ever before, recycling largely seems to focus on plastic and paper. But what we need be considering more is whether the items we’re throwing away are made of metal, and of those, which are recyclable. Scrap metal generally falls into two categories: ferrous and nonferrous metals.
Any metal or alloy which contains iron will fall into the category of ferrous metals, while other metals like copper and lead, which don’t contain iron, will come under the nonferrous category. Determining if you have a ferrous or non-ferrous metal and separating it is the first important step before bringing it to be recycled. The easiest and most common way to figure out what kind of metal you have is by using a magnet.
Tip: If you don’t have a handheld magnet handy, grab your fridge magnet!
If the magnet sticks: You have a ferrous metal in your hands, something common like steel or iron. Things like washing machines, cookers, certain furniture, garden equipment and old bikes come under the Ferrous category. Ferrous metal is not worth very much when you bring it to the scrap yard, but we will still accept it and make sure it is recycled properly.
If the magnet does not stick: The metal you have is a non-ferrous metal. Many common metals, like copper, aluminium, brass, stainless steel and bronze are categorized as non-ferrous metals. These metals are very valuable to recycle and are worth more money.
If you’re looking to dispose of these sorts of things, ringing someone up to ask them to take it away as rubbish costs you money and wastes a valuable resource. There are many benefits of recycling your scrap metal such as there being no cost to you for us taking it away. Plus, we can recycle the metal for the good of the environment, and landfill is not being filled with highly recyclable material.
By taking a moment to think about the items we need to dispose of, we can all do our bit to make sure precious, finite materials aren’t wasted.