Scrap Metal Recycling for Construction Companies

No matter how carefully the architect plans the job design, every project generates some waste. And if there’s demolition involved in the job, at the end of the day, you could be hauling off tons of debris — or paying someone else to do it for you. But have you ever considered scrap metal recycling as part of your demolition plans?

The bottom line is that waste costs money. The storage and removal of waste materials costs construction businesses hundreds of dollars per project, yet many of those expenses can be offset with a solid construction and demolition scrap metal recycling program.

Implementing metal recycling processes is often a lot less cost prohibitive and complex than many builders think. And there are some seriously good reasons to get started. Let’s take a look at the hows and whys of construction metal recycling to see whether a program is right for your business.


Metal Recycling Can Reduce End-of-Project Costs

Construction managers often balk at demolition metal recycling, wrongly assuming that these services will be costly and time consuming. However, on the contrary, a well-managed construction scrap metal recycling program can easily net several thousand dollars per project, depending on its size and the type of materials recovered. Metals are particularly valuable: bright bare copper wiring, for instance, often fetches more than many other metals.

Many metal recycling centers lend out bins for scrap metal recycling, which makes it more convenient. This can also significantly reduce dumpster rental costs, especially since many rental services charge more for larger units. At the end of the day, if you’re throwing recyclable metals into a dumpster—or paying a waste removal service to haul it away—you’re not using your money efficiently.


Builder Scrap Metal Is an Urgent Problem

Although the money spent to store and remove waste materials poses a significant argument for metal recycling, there are other good reasons to implement a program for your company—namely, the huge environmental toll of waste.

About a fourth of all solid waste originates from construction. This is unfortunate, considering that so many waste materials are recyclable. Aluminum doors, windows and frames; structural steel; steel framing members; wiring and conduits; pipes and pipe fixtures; and HVAC materials are all examples of recyclable metals found on construction and demolition sites.

Mining for new metals poses some environment risks as well, which can be mitigated with metal recycling programs. In the past, improperly managed mining sites have caused soil and water contamination as well as added excessive carbon emissions to the air. Recycling your waste metal can reduce your business’s contribution to these problems.

Implementing a Recycling Plan Is Simple and Effective

One of the biggest impediments to construction recycling is that it requires some additional effort from your employees. However, business owners tend to overestimate the amount of work such programs require. There’s no need for subcontractors to get involved in complicated sorting. This work can be left to metal recycling vendors. Your teams simply need to be trained to separate metal debris from nonmetal debris, which is not exactly rocket science!

Co-mingled recycling programs—ones where materials are not sorted on-site—are much more convenient and simpler to implement, though your demolition scrap metal recycling center may deduct fees from your earnings as a charge for sorting. While metal recycling programs will be more lucrative if you ask employees to sort metals on-site, sorting materials at this level often diverts time away from the task at hand and may require additional space on-site for separate roll-away bins. Ultimately, you’ll need to ask yourself which method makes the most sense for your needs.

Another issue to be on the lookout for is metal theft. Bins left uncovered during off-hours may be raided by thieves, or perhaps even looted by employees. However, you can maximize the value of your program by asking your metal recycling center to provide bins with covers and padlocks and locking them every night.


Your local metal recycling center may be able to provide project-level advice for sorting, storing, protecting and transporting recycled materials. For more information about starting a construction recycling program in the Austin area, contact us at Gardner Metals today. We can turn your scrap metal into gold!