Recycling Facts and FAQ

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Scrap metal recycling is an essential part of manufacturing, construction and demolition. Without it, we would be depleting our natural resources at an alarming rate and would be consuming energy in an unsustainable way. And metal recycling is at the forefront of the green manufacturing movement.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about scrap metal recycling.

Scrap Metal FAQ

Why Recycle Scrap Metal?

Reducing a company’s carbon footprint is important, as is making sure the company is turning a profit. You can kill two birds with one stone by recycling scrap metal:

  • Environmental concerns. There are many environmental benefits to scrap metal recycling. Recycling saves space in landfills. It cuts down dramatically on carbon dioxide and other harmful gas emissions. Reusing metals is much cheaper than having to dig for virgin ore. It saves on energy and cuts down on pollution.
  • Financial concerns. A construction or demolition company is quite literally throwing away money by not recycling their scrap metal. Every shaving, turning and sanding is worth dollars and cents.

What Is Scrap Metal Good For?

The list of products made from recycled scrap metal is endless. It is used in automobiles, airplanes, musical instruments, bridges, roads, detoxifying industrial wastewater, appliances, home furnishings and art. These are just a few examples of products made with scrap metal.

One of the many great things about scrap metal recycling is that scrap metal can be recycled without sacrificing quality. A truck made from recycled steel will be every bit as strong as a truck made from virgin steel. Copper wire made from recycled kitchenware will be every bit as conductive as virgin copper.

What is Considered Scrap Metal?

Metal from sandings, turnings, stampings, trimmings, shavings and solid metal residues from metal production are all considered scrap metal.

What Will a Scrap Yard Accept?

There are many different categories of metals that a scrap yard will accept, and within those categories are subcategories based on the metals’ quality. Common metals accepted by scrap yards are copper, brass, stainless steel, lead and aluminum.

What Metals Won’t a Scrap Yard Accept?

Scrap yards will not accept any metals that contain asbestos. Nor will they accept metal that contains chlorofluorocarbons, better known as refrigerants or CFCs. Radioactive material is also not accepted at scrap yards. Any metal that contains non-recyclable waste or oily residue will not be considered for purchase.

How Can I Find the Value of Scrap Metal Before Going to a Scrap Yard?

There are many online databases dedicated to keeping up-to-date prices on scrap metal. It also doesn’t hurt to call around to different scrap yards to see who has the best prices. You can also sign up for our price alert newsletter to keep up with price fluctuations and scrap metal pricing trends.

Because scrap metal is a speculative business, it is best to keep up to date on world events that might affect scrap metal markets. Learn about what countries produce different kinds of ore. Learn about the current political climate of those countries.

What Happens to Scrap Metal Once it Goes to the Scrap Yard?

Sorting. All non-metal pieces that can be removed will be at this stage. Afterward, the metal is organized by parts and what those parts are made of.

Cleaning. A lot of the metal that comes through the doors of a scrap yard is still attached to plastic. Some of the metal is coated in paints, is dirty or has other issues. The contaminants that can’t be removed by a thorough washing will have to be taken off of the metal by melting them down at extremely high temperatures.

Recycling. After the cleaning and sorting, the purified metals are melted down into bricks, ready to be sent to manufacturers to turn them into products.

Should I Sort My Scrap Metal?

Absolutely. There are a few different ways in which your scrap should be sorted.

Ferrous/Non-Ferrous. Ferrous metals are metals that contain iron. Non-ferrous metals are metals that do not contain iron. An easy way to begin sorting is to use a magnet on your scrap. Ferrous metals will be attracted to the magnet while non-ferrous metals will not. The vast majority of the time, non-ferrous metals will be more valuable than ferrous (iron-containing) metals.

Metal Type. In addition to sorting by iron content, your scrap metal should be separated by metal type. Lumping aluminum and copper together is a great way to make sure you don’t get the most money for your efforts. Learning to identify different metals can be tricky when you’re first starting out—especially if the metal is corroded.

Some things to consider when identifying different types of metal are an attraction to magnets, color, malleability, hardness, oxidation and weight.

Does Scrap Metal Pricing Fluctuate?

Scrap metal pricing fluctuates based on supply-chain issues, political uncertainty, and availability.

In 2019 metal prices plunged as lockdown orders went into effect due to COVID-19.

Example: China has become the world’s largest importer of bauxite. Bauxite is used in the production of aluminum. Because the majority of bauxite is now shipped to China, there is less available for Europe and the U.S. High demand plus less availability equals higher aluminum prices.

What Scrap Does Gardner Metal Recycling Accept?

Gardner Metal Recycling accepts a broad range of metal scrap. Stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminum, tin, machine turnings, catalytic converters, electronics and exotic metals are all accepted here.

We strongly encourage anyone interested in selling their recyclable scrap metal to pre-sort everything you plan on bringing in. This will ensure that you get the most money for your scrap metal. Also, feel free to call us beforehand so that we can provide you with the most current scrap metal pricing.

What Can Gardner Metal Recycling Do For You?

Gardner Metals has been Central Texas’s premier scrap metal recycling center for over sixty years. We offer top dollar for your scrap metal as well as other services such as demolition site clearing, scrap metal bin rental, scrap metal pick-up services and more.

Facts About Recycling

  1. Every year, the U.S. recycles enough copper to make 30,645 Statues of Liberty.
  2. If all of the U.S.’s aluminum scrap were used to make soda cans, they would stretch 29,847,965 miles when lined up. That’s most of the distance between the Earth and Mars!
  3. Using aluminum scrap versus virgin aluminum ore saves energy! Even up to 95% energy savings.
  4. Talk about return on investment. Recycling 10 pounds of aluminum cans can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16 pounds!
  5. Want to make a big impact on greenhouse gas emissions? Recycling your car can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8,811 pounds and can save the energy equivalent of 502 gallons of gasoline.
  6. Recycling 1 ton of steel can conserve 1,400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone.
  7. An estimated 85% to 90% of all automotive aluminum is recovered and recycled.
  8. Approximately 60% of the aluminum in North American cars is recycled content.
  9. Of an estimated total 700 million tons of aluminum produced in the world since commercial manufacturing began, about three-fourths is still in productive use.
  10. Lead-acid batteries, a primary use for lead, have a 97% recycling rate.
  11. Scrap accounts for 40% of the world’s raw material needs.
  12. 2 out of 3 pounds of steel made in the United States is manufactured using scrap.
  13. 60% of the metals and alloys produced in the United States are made from non-ferrous scrap.

    Source: Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.: You can learn more at!

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