So you want to do some recycling. As experienced Austin scrappers, we’re glad to hear it! That said, it’s important to know what a scrap yard will and won’t accept before you start loading up your metal scrap to recycle. Whether it’s earth-conscious citizens or overloaded contractors looking to dump all the leftover clutter from a job site, we’ve seen plenty of customers show up with materials that can’t be recycled.
We’re happy to offer some insight into what can’t be recycled and why, so that you don’t waste a trip to the scrap yard. And knowing the difference between what is acceptable scrap and what isn’t can help make you more money.
What Can I Scrap?
Let’s get to the good news first! Before you get too caught up in a reality check, there is still plenty of reason to be optimistic about your upcoming scrap yard visit. So long as you’re not sitting on a load of toxic substances, chances are you have something that is worth salvaging. And when you recycle, not only do you help the environment but you can also make a nice chunk of cash in the process. So what junk is worth bringing to the scrap yard?
The answer will of course vary depending on your scrap yard and location, but in general most places are looking for the same types of scrap. Metals, especially those used in construction and plumbing, are always going to be at a premium, and even more so as strain on shipping routes and the supply chain increases. If you’re looking to clear out your basement or yard of old machinery that is cluttering things up, you’re probably in luck. And if you’re a contractor, especially one dealing with high-value metals—piping or electric lines, or anything that might come out of a restaurant—that’s especially true.
For a more specific look at what we take at Gardner Metal Recycling, check out our What We Buy page. Before you go, though, keep reading to see what items you should remove from your junk heap before loading it up for a trip to a scrap yard near you.
What Scrap Won’t Fly, and Why?
Fortunately for those looking to keep the scrapping process simple, the list of things most scrap yards won’t take is short. The biggest non-negotiable for scrap yards is universally radioactive waste of any kind. If you’re clearing a site that has any quantities of uranium, plutonium, mercury or any other sort of toxic materials, prioritize looking for an alternative way of disposing of these elements before heading to the scrap yard.
Depending on how thorough your clean-up process is, you can potentially bring in leftover metals once you’ve finished with radioactive disposal. But if any of these materials is present when you show up to the scrap yard, it will likely be a non-starter.
In addition to hazardous elements, generally anything coated in or joined to plastic or wood will be refused by your scrap yard. At the very least, these materials will lower the value of your scrap metal, as they represent a higher cost of labor for the scrap yard. So stripping these materials and sorting them out of your scrap will increase your value as well as streamline the process.
Beyond these two major red flags, here are some other common items that scrap yards won’t take:
- Refrigerators with food still in them
- AC units (due to the freon used in them)
- Fiberglass and particleboard
- Gas tanks
Additionally, many yards will have their own list of items they won’t accept for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s a simple supply-and-demand issue or something off-limits for liability reasons, scrap yards can refuse items at their leisure, so it’s always good to double check before you make a trip. Not sure whether we will take your items? Give us a call!
Get Help from the Recycling Experts at Gardner Metal Recycling
At Gardner Metal Recycling, we try to make the recycling process as easy as possible for you. Not only do we offer the most up-to-date prices, but we have experts standing by to answer any further questions you may have about what and how to recycle.
Once you’ve figured out what can be recycled, we are happy to arrange a pickup to expedite things. Whether you are short on time or transport, we want your scrap and will go the extra mile to take it off your hands and make sure you get paid fairly for it! Alternatively, if you are on a longer-term job site and would rather have items picked up on a recurring basis, we are happy to provide a scrap container that we will pick up and replace periodically.