When you look at the prices provided at a scrap metal yard you will likely notice that they pay different prices for different metals. Additionally they may indicate different variations of the same metal including numbers or with descriptors like "prepared" or "unprepared" or "clean". For someone new to scrap metal recycling, these terms and identifiers might not make sense. And although you might know what type of metal you have you might not know if it is "prepared" or "clean" or what number it is. Here is a quick guide to these terms and how to make more for your scrap metal.
How To Organize Scrap Metal
The first step in recycling scrap metal is organizing the metal into separate bins or containers. You should keep like metals with each other. If you provide an unorganized bin of metal, the yard could pay you based on an average of all the metals or even pay you based on the cheapest metal in the bin. To get the most for your metal you should separate each metal into separate bins.
Understanding Numbers in Reference To Scrap Metal
Scrap Yards will usually indicate if they pay different prices for the quality of the metal provided by using numbers. For instance, heavy metal steel is usually categorized into two groups: HMS #1 and HMS #2. HMS #1 is higher quality as it does not contain blackened steel or galvanized steel. The same applies to copper. Although in the case of Copper, metals can be separated into three categories. Each of these types of copper is identified by its quality.
The Difference Between Clean & Unclean Metal
Some scrap metal yards will organize copper based on how "clean" it is. To someone new to recycling copper, they might misunderstand this as referring to cleanliness. In fact the clean copper refers to the damage and rust. Signs of oxidation and damage can decrease the value of the copper. Copper #2 likely shows signs of oxidation or has solder, paint, coatings, and other tarnishing affecting the value of the copper. Just like separating different types of metal you should separate different grades of copper and heavy metal steel.
Prepared Vs Unprepared Heavy Metal Steel
Another consideration is if the your metal is prepared or unprepared. Unprepared metal includes components that have multiple metals present. Metal is most valuable if it is purely one metal separated from all foreign materials. This means all attachments that are composed of other metals or materials need to be removed.
Preparing Your Scrap Metal For Recycling
When you plan to sell scrap metal you can improve your profits by taking a few simple steps. Remove insulation from copper wire, separate metals into their purest forms and keep all of your metals in separate bins. By recycling each metal individually you can get the most for your metals. However, some people recycle scrap metal may not have the tools or the time for these projects. In that case, you can always recycle your metal without organizing and cleaning it, but you will want to go to a yard you can trust to give you a fair price for unorganized metals.