5 Tips on How to Sort Your Scrap Metal

A heap of scrap metalYou can't turn your scrap metal into gold unless you're King Midas. But you can turn anything that has some recyclable metal in it into some good cash. For a good deal at your local scrap yard, here are tips on how to clean and sort your scrap.

Test the metals with a magnet

A magnet will stick on ferrous metals such as steel and iron but won't adhere to nonferrous metals such as copper and aluminium. Scrap metal firms or merchants accept both ferrous and non-ferrous metals but may pay more for the nonferrous metal.

The nonferrous metals fetch a better price because they weigh less, resist corrosion better and have higher conductivity.

Sort scrap into different containers

After separating the ferrous from the non-ferrous metals, see if you can identify the types of metals you have. Metals have different market values and separating them all out will ensure you get the right value for your scrap. Sorted scrap will also be tidy and organised.

Grade the sorted scrap

Pure metals fetch better prices than metals with impurities or pieces that are a combination of metals. After separating the pile according to the type of metal, go an extra step and grade the metals that have different varieties.

For instance, if you have copper, separate the copper that has no alloys, coating or insulation from the copper with impurities.

Clean and trim down the scraps

Many scrap metal merchants prefer and sometimes pay extra for clean, trimmed down scraps. Separate out the pure metals from the contaminated. Clean off the mud, dirt or rust. Strip off the insulation on wires and make sure there are no additional non-metal attachments on the scrap.

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Talk to the local scrap yard about their requirements

Recycling centres may have yard-specific needs according to their recycling capacity. Contact the local yard and find out if they have any restrictions or additional guidelines.

Sorting and cleaning scrap metal help increase the value of the pile. It also speeds up the recycling and processing process. Clean your scrap and sort it accordingly to get the right value for your collection.​