Scrap collecting is an essential service that not only helps in decluttering spaces but also contributes significantly to recycling efforts. From household items to industrial waste, scrap collectors take a wide variety of materials. Understanding what items are typically accepted and the process involved can help you better prepare your scrap for collection.

Key Takeaways

  • Scrap collectors accept a wide range of materials including ferrous and non-ferrous metals, electronic scrap, and household items like kitchen appliances and furniture.
  • Industrial and commercial scrap such as construction materials, machinery, and business metal waste are also commonly collected.
  • The recycling process involves collection, transportation, sorting, categorization, and eventually recycling and reuse of the metals.
  • Properly sorting and cleaning your scrap metal before taking it to a dealer can increase its value.
  • Scrap yards are frequented by a diverse group of people including contractors, tradespeople, individuals, households, and businesses.

Common Types of Scrap Metal Collected

Scrap metal collection is a vital part of the recycling process, involving the gathering of various types of metals from different sources. Understanding the types of scrap metal collected can help you determine what items you can recycle and how to prepare them for collection.

Household Items Accepted as Scrap

Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances are some of the most common household items accepted as scrap. This includes large appliances like washing machines, cookers, and dishwashers. Smaller appliances such as microwaves and vacuum cleaners are also accepted. These items often contain valuable metals that can be recycled and reused.

Electronic Devices

Many electronic devices can be taken to the scrapyard. This includes items like old computers, televisions, and mobile phones. Even smaller gadgets like tablets and e-readers are accepted. These devices often contain precious metals that are valuable to scrap.

Furniture and Fixtures

Metal bed frames, office furniture, and filing cabinets are examples of furniture that can be scrapped. Additionally, metal fixtures such as sinks, baths, and radiators are also accepted. These items are often made of metals like steel and aluminum, which are highly recyclable.

Valuable to scrap: So, whether you’re moving house or just rooting through old stuff that you no longer use, why not find out which items you should throw and which you could take to the scrapyard?

All electrical & household appliances can be considered for scrap, making it easier to clear out your home while contributing to recycling efforts.

Industrial and Commercial Scrap

Construction Materials

Construction sites generate a significant amount of scrap metal, including steel beams, rebar, and aluminum siding. These materials are often collected and recycled to reduce waste and promote sustainability. Demolition metal is another common source of scrap from construction projects.

Machinery and Equipment

Industrial facilities often have old or unused machinery that can be recycled. This includes warehouse machinery, engines, and even gym equipment. Collecting these items not only frees up space but also provides a source of income. For example, car batteries and copper cylinders are frequently collected.

Business Metal Waste

Businesses generate various types of metal waste, from office furniture to electronic devices. Items like radiators, boilers, and cast iron baths are commonly accepted as scrap. Proper disposal of business metal waste is crucial for environmental sustainability and can be financially beneficial.

Industrial and commercial sectors contribute significantly to the scrap metal industry, providing a steady stream of recyclable materials.

The Process of Scrap Metal Recycling

Collection and Transportation

Once the scrap collection has taken place at the collection sites, the skip is taken to a recycling center. People bring their scraps to the scrap yard and sell their metal according to the weight of the metal they leave. The recycling process involves several key steps to transform scrap metal into reusable material.

Sorting and Categorization

The metals are categorized and then sent on to the recycler. Some scrap yards have their own machines to start breaking things down for recycling. The metal scrap is divided into three main categories: ferrous, non-ferrous, and electronic scrap. In processing plants, any rubber, plastic, or wood is removed from the metal before being melted down.

Recycling and Reuse

With our method of scrap metal disposal, we contribute towards the 145 million tonnes of scrap metal that is diverted away from landfill sites. The metals are melted down and repurposed, ensuring an eco-friendly way of disposal. This step is crucial in the complete guide to scrap metal recycling.

Dividing your metals into categories before you take them to the scrapyard is very important. If this is not done, you may not be paid as much due to the additional work required.

Tips for Preparing Your Scrap Metal

Sorting Metals

To get good money for your scrap metal, it is advisable you plan ahead. Sort it as you generate it. Turning up with a skip full of unsorted metals is not going to be helpful at a scrap metal yard. They may reduce the price you’ll get for the time it takes to sort it themselves. It’s very important to divide your metals into categories before you take it to the scrapyard. You should divide it by ferrous and non-ferrous, then again by type (copper, iron, aluminium, etc.). If this is not done, you may not be paid as much due to the additional work required.

Cleaning and Stripping

Ask if your scrap metal needs to be cleaned – some grades of metal, like stainless steel and aluminium, will do and you will get a higher price. Make sure that these items are properly cleaned and that any signs of rust or erosion are removed beforehand. Anything that is too badly damaged by rust or oxidisation may not be accepted by a scrapyard, so you need to prepare it all thoroughly.

Finding a Trusted Dealer

If you’ve looked through your home and found lots of bits and pieces that you’re interested in scrapping, the next step is to get it to a trusted dealer. Depending on the amount, you may be able to take it in your own vehicle. Know what you have, classify it, and deliver it separately to the buyer. The less work they have to do, the better price you will get for your scrap metal. Don’t wait too long before selling it – especially ferrous metals. If this rusts, it will become worthless.

Who Typically Visits Scrap Yards?

Contractors and Tradespeople

A typical scrap yard customer will be a metal merchant who buys and sells scrap metal or tradespeople such as electricians, plumbers, builders, and other contractors. These workers often have extra metals from their jobs. They may end up with scrap metal from a tear down or simply extras that are leftover. These can be recycled and make the person a little extra money.

Individuals and Households

Anyone can go to the scrap yard, but they tend to see more contractors. However, individuals and households also visit scrap yards to recycle old equipment, disused parts, dead batteries, cable, or components. It’s very important to divide your metals into categories before you take it to the scrapyard.

Businesses and Organizations

Businesses and organizations, especially those in construction or engineering, often have large amounts of scrap metal lying around. This could be old equipment, disused parts, or other metal waste. They visit scrap yards to recycle these materials and possibly earn some extra revenue.

Understanding Ferrous vs. Non-Ferrous Metals

Characteristics of Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals are those metals which mostly contain iron. The simple answer is that iron is found in ferrous metals and is not in non-ferrous metals. These metals are magnetic, making them useful for motor and electrical manufacturing. However, they are more susceptible to corrosion due to their high carbon content. Examples include cast iron, wrought iron, and steel.

Characteristics of Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron, making them far more resistant to corrosion. They are non-magnetic, which makes them ideal for electrical applications and wiring. Non-ferrous metals are generally lighter and often have a higher market value due to their demand. Examples include copper, brass, aluminum, and lead.

Common Examples of Each Type

  • Ferrous Metals:
    • Cast Iron: Used in machine tools, cookware, and water pipes.
    • Wrought Iron: Resists corrosion, often used for railings and fencing.
    • Steel: Widely used in construction and manufacturing industries.
  • Non-Ferrous Metals:
    • Copper: Commonly used in electrical wiring.
    • Brass: Often used in plumbing and decorative items.
    • Aluminum: Used in aircraft, automotive parts, and packaging.
    • Lead: Frequently used in batteries and shielding.

Understanding the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is crucial for effective recycling and utilization in various industries.

Understanding the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is crucial for anyone involved in metal recycling or scrap collection. Ferrous metals, like iron and steel, contain iron and are magnetic, while non-ferrous metals, such as copper and aluminum, do not contain iron and are usually more resistant to corrosion. To learn more about how we handle these metals and to take advantage of our free scrap metal collection services, visit our website today!


In conclusion, scrap collectors play a vital role in the recycling ecosystem by collecting a wide range of metal and electronic items. From household appliances like washing machines and microwaves to industrial waste and car batteries, these items are sorted, categorized, and sent to recycling centers where they are processed and repurposed. Whether you are a contractor with leftover materials or a homeowner clearing out old items, taking your scrap to a reputable dealer ensures that these materials are properly recycled, contributing to environmental sustainability and potentially earning you some extra money. Always remember to sort your metals by type to get the best value and ensure a smoother recycling process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of metals are considered ferrous?

Ferrous metals contain iron and are magnetic. Common examples include iron, steel, and cast iron.

What are non-ferrous metals?

Non-ferrous metals do not contain iron and are not magnetic. Examples include copper, aluminum, and brass.

What household items can be taken to a scrap yard?

Common household items accepted at scrap yards include kitchen appliances like dishwashers and microwaves, electronic devices such as old computers and TVs, and even furniture and fixtures.

How should I prepare my scrap metal before taking it to a dealer?

You should sort your metals into ferrous and non-ferrous categories, clean and strip any materials if necessary, and ensure you find a trusted dealer to get the best price.

Who typically visits scrap yards?

Scrap yards are commonly visited by contractors and tradespeople, individuals and households, as well as businesses and organizations.

What happens to scrap metal after it is collected?

After collection, scrap metal is transported to a recycling center where it is sorted, categorized, and then processed for recycling and reuse.