Did you know that you can get paid by recycling metals like tin, zinc, copper, steel, nickel, brass, and aluminum? Scrap yards and recycling facilities are happy to pay for this metal because it can easily be melted down and used again for new products.

Recycling scrap metal is important since mining ore has a great environmental impact. When new metals have to be found, wildlife habitats are destroyed, and hazardous byproducts get into the soil and groundwater. If you would like to help the environment and earn a little pocket money, here are some basics of scrap metal recycling you should know.

What Can You Recycle?

You can recycle all sorts of products, such as silverware, wires, piping, electronics, household appliances, auto parts, or musical instruments. You can recycle items that are a mix of plastics, metals, and other materials. However, many places require that an item with mixed materials be at least 50% metal.

If you have smaller items to donate, it's best to separate them by ferrous and non-ferrous metals. You can do this by using a magnet. Ferrous metals will stick to a magnet while nonferrous ones won't. Nonferrous metals, like copper, are worth more, so it's important to separate them out. If you don't separate metals, then the facility may have to lump the scrap together, and you'll only receive the minimum payment.

When you go to the recycling center, make sure you bring identification and/or receipts of the items you intend to recycle. This information is important because it helps the facility maintain a record and make sure metal donations aren't from stolen items, like road signs.

What Isn't Accepted by Scrap Metal Facilities?

You'll need to check with your city for specific rules. For example, some cities will pay you for aluminum cans by the pound, while other cities will only accept these cans in curbside recycling. If you have a very large metal object, like an ironing board, you may be able to be paid, but you'll have to arrange for a bulky waste pick-up instead of bringing the item to the facility yourself.

How Does a Recycling Facility Work?

When you bring in your scrap metal, the facility will ask you what kind of metal you have (ferrous or nonferrous), and then weigh the item on a calibrated scale. Obviously the higher the weight, the more money you can get back for your scrap. 

If you aren't sure which kind of metal you have, some facilities are happy to identify the material for you. You just may not receive payment as quickly as if you separate the scrap metal yourself at home. And again, if you have a mixed load of scrap metal and don't separate the pile, then the facility can only give you the minimum payment.

Contact a recycling professional in your area for more details. For more information, contact a company like Gutterman Iron & Metal Corp.