Common Scrap Metals

At ScrapsAway.co.uk we want to try and help you to make the most money from the scrap metal you have. The section below is designed to help you identify some of the most common scrap metals you would come across. There is also information on how to prepare the metal before getting it to the scrap yard so that you can get the most money for it. We have also provided you with some information regarding how to handle the scrap metal safely.

In truth, there are very many different types and grades of metals worth money to scrap dealers. This site assists you with the two main categories of scrap metal, ferrous and non-ferrous. We have then listed below the main metal types that fall within these categories. 

If you think you have a metal that is not listed or may be classed as "dirty" (mixed with other materials) the best way to get it accurately identified and priced is to take several photographs and send them to a scrap yard in your area. Search for your local scrap yard HERE and then use the contact details provided to get an accurate price. The actual price received will rely heavily on the weight of the scrap metal. This means that until the metal is weighed, either upon collection or delivery to the scrap yard, it will be impossible to get an exact price for the scrap metal.

If you would like some advice on the many different scrap metals that can be sold, then please get in touch with us HERE. Alternatively, you can #GetSocial with us via social media.

Untitled photo

What is Non-Ferrous Metal

Non-Ferrous metals are metals that do not contain a significant amount of iron. Non-ferrous metals are more valuable than ferrous metals. They are mainly used in products due to their lightweight, hardwearing properties and their ability to conduct electricity well. One of the most noticeable characteristics of non-ferrous metals is that they are non-magnetic. So, if you are unsure which group of metal yours is in you can always check it with a magnet.

Lead

Metal Description:

Lead is a very soft non-ferrous metal and a very common metal to be seen at the scrap yard. Used in many different products throughout the construction industry. It is a dense and hard-wearing material which is very malleable and can be easily shaped. It is highly toxic though and must only be handled using the personal protective equipment.

Where it is Found:

Lead is found in many products used throughout the construction industry. The most common place to find it in a domestic setting is as lead flashing on your roof at home. On larger buildings rolled lead is used to make roofs of buildings. Lead can also be found in the ground or running through structures as water pipes. Lead guttering and downpipes can be located on the outside of properties.

Things to Remember Before Removing & Selling:

Always check that any services which may be running through the pipes have been disconnected and drained. If you are unsure, always seek advice from a professional before removing any pipes.

Lead is a very toxic substance and must be handled with care at all times. Always wear gloves and have long sleeves when handling. After handling, always ensure hands are washed thoroughly. For more information on the dangers of lead, Click HERE to visit the HSE website.

How to Make the Most Money:

Where the lead has been used on roofs, it must be free from other roofing materials such as bitumen and timber batten. Lead guttering and other pipework may have been secured in place using brackets/clips made from steel or other materials. These must have been removed to get the best possible price for the scrap lead.

Copper Tubing/Copper Pipe

Metal Description:

Copper tubing or pipe is one of the most common non-ferrous metals to take into a scrap dealer and also currently one of the most valuable. It is a very soft metal and can easily be bent and broken by hand. There are a variety of conditions that copper pipe can come in which vary in price.

Where it is Found:

Copper tubing and copper pipe are very commonly used throughout the UK by the plumbing industry. Plumbers or builders can have excess cutoffs from a repair or development job which can be collected and taken to the scrap yards. Demolition contractors may also come across large quantities of the metal from a building being demolished. It is most commonly used for transporting water or gas around houses or other premises.

Things to Remember Before Removing & Selling:

Always check that the services going through the pipes have been turned off and appropriately drained. This must have been completed by a competent and trained person before the removal begins. If you are unsure, then seek the advice of a professional. Never take chances as far as live services go.

It will be worth checking with the policy of the scrap yard before taking your copper tube to them to ensure it meets their requirements for a top price. You could always send the scrap yard a photograph.

How to Make the Most Money:

To make the most money from your copper piping or tube, it needs to be as clean as possible. Any insulation around it needs to have been removed. Any clips or fixings used to attach it to walls or floors must also have been removed. All of the joins that have been used to connect the different sections of pipe must be removed. These are mainly brass and will devalue the copper tubing if left attached. Once removed these can also be sold under the category of brazier.

Copper Cable (Bright Wire)

Metal Description:

Copper cable or bright wire is found running through the centre of a lot of electrical cables. Whether it be thin wire powering a lamp or three-phase cable running from a sub-station it is likely to have copper running through the centre. 

Where it is Found:

Copper wire (bright wire) is found in both domestic and commercial property which has any electrical equipment. Copper is used in wiring as it is an excellent conductor of electricity. If you are planning a re-wire of a property collect all of the old wire, it can be sold at your local scrap dealer and earn you some money.

Things to Remember Before Removing & Selling:

You must ensure that all electrical power running through the cables has been shut off. A professional electrician must be consulted before attempting to isolate electricity supplies. To find a local, approved electrician, please click HERE. If dealing with cables underground, it may require the assistance of the electricity supply company to isolate the supply in the ground.

Never attempt to remove live cables yourself. Always seek help from professionals. Always treat discovered wires as live unless you are 100% sure they have been disconnected. For more information on working around live electricity and how best to protect yourself click HERE to visit the HSE website.

How to Make the Most Money:

To make the most money from any size cable it all needs to have been stripped of all plastic casing, free from insulation or steel reinforcing. Unless you have the specialist stripping equipment, stripping household cable yourself by hand is very time-consuming. However do not attempt to burn the plastic off, as this will de-value the copper.

Large copper cables can be easily stripped with a Stanley blade and pliers/hacksaw but always be careful and wear protective gloves.

Aluminium

Metal Description:

Aluminium is a very soft non-ferrous metal usually in a light silver colour but can sometimes be painted or coated. It is a common metal and is used in a variety of different industries from drinks cans, window frames to car parts. Always check with the scrap dealer to find out exactly which kind of aluminium you have.

Where it is Found:

You may have a can of drink near you. That is aluminium. The window frames on your house they might be aluminium too. If you are fortunate enough to own a boat that could be aluminium also. It is used in many different industries due to its light weight, durability and its ability to easily be shaped.

How to Make the Most Money:

Aluminium is generally used with other kinds of products like steel and plastic. All of these other materials need to have been stripped from the aluminium so that it is as clean as possible.

If it is coated in anything like plastic, for example, it can still have value. However, it would yield a less amount of money than aluminium that was completely bare and free of other materials.

Stainless Steel

Metal Description:

Stainless steel which is also known as inox steel is a mixture of steel, carbon and the element chromium. It is usually silver coloured and very hard wearing. There are many grades of stainless steel, and these differ due to the different amounts of chromium added during the manufacturing process.

Where it is Found:

Stainless steel is used widely in both domestic and commercial settings. In residential properties, it is mainly found as cookware, cutlery and kitchen fittings (sinks, taps, etc.) In industrial environments, it can be seen as machinery, guttering, tanks and roofing supplies, etc.

How to Make the Most Money:

Due to stainless steel coming in different grades the price can vary. The kind of stainless steel used in domestic settings is generally worth less than the grade found in commercial settings. The professionals at the scrap yard, you choose to sell your metal to will be able to determine which grade you have.

Any other metals or materials attached to stainless steel will need to have been removed before it is weighed at the scrap yard.

Brass

Metal Description:

Brass is an alloy made up of copper and zinc which is usually gold like in colour. This gold like colour means it is favourable for making decorative metal objects and furnishings.

It is also a very hard-wearing metal but very malleable and due to this and its decorative appearance is a solid choice when needing to make beautiful yet sturdy objects.

Where it is Found:

Brass is found in many domestic, commercial and public settings. One of the other characteristics that see it being popular in public buildings and facilities is that it has antimicrobial properties known to kill germs. They use brass rails, doorknobs and push plates as it helps to kill the bacteria from the many users passing through the areas.

Brass is also commonly used in plumbing for fittings connecting pipes. This is due to its ability to withstand extremely high temperatures and that it is a very durable metal.

The brass section of a band is, believe it or not, called that because the instruments are made of brass. Brass can be polished to an extremely high level which gives the instruments a very prestigious look.

How to Make the Most Money:

To get the most money from your scrap brass, it needs to be as clean as possible. All other metals need to have been removed.

The brass may have been fixed to walls, floors, etc. and have fixings attached made from other metals; these must be removed to ensure maximum potential value. If the brass has any other materials attached like timber or plastic, these must also be removed. 

Aluminium & Copper Radiators

Metal Description:

Aluminium and copper radiators are found in many places including inside air conditioning units. You will know if you have an aluminium and copper radiator due to their very distinctive look. A comb-like aluminium structure with curved copper tubes visible at the ends.

Where it is Found:

Aluminium and copper radiators can be found within air conditioning units. The average person may not come across them very often, but contractors who redevelop buildings are likely to come across large amounts of them.

Things to Remember Before Removing & Selling:

Aluminium and copper radiators need to be disconnected by trained professionals. Never attempt to work on live electricity yourself.

The gases found within air-conditioning systems are hazardous to your health and the environment. A specialist contractor must remove them. To find a licenced facility that will take the gas, you can search HERE. They will remove and dispose of the gases in a safe way according to the Environmental Agencies guidelines. This will help to demonstrate that you have met your responsibilities in complying with the safe handling and disposal of any ozone-depleting refrigerants.

How to Make the Most Money:

Aluminium and copper radiators come in two categories; clean and dirty. Clean has the higher value as they have the least amount of other metals in. Dirty heaters have other materials like plastic or metal still attached.

To get the most money possible these other materials will need to be removed. To remove these metals, you will likely need to use an electric or petrol saw to cut the steel ends off. Always be careful and protect yourself with the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when using cutting equipment.

What is Ferrous Metal

Ferrous metals are metals that contain iron. They may have other metals mixed in, but the majority of the metal is iron. Iron is magnetic, so one of the easiest ways to check for ferrous metals is to place a magnet on the surface. If it sticks you can be sure it's ferrous. The value of ferrous metal compared to non-ferrous metals is a lot less. Ferrous metals are very susceptible to rust and need to be painted to prevent the rust from forming.

Light Iron

Metal Description:

Light iron is the commonly used term for any metal with a thin gauge. This could be anything from household goods, cable trunking, old wheelbarrows, to corrugated roof sheets.

Where it is Found:

Light iron is found in both domestic and commercial settings. You can find many things within your home or workplace referred to as light iron. This could be the white goods in your kitchen or the roof on your shed. In a commercial setting, it could be cable trunking under a floor, railings on the roof of a building or shelving and racking.

How to Make the Most Money:

When collecting your light iron for either delivery to your local scrap yard or arranging for collection to get the most money it must be free from other materials like plastic and wood. Use a selection of hand tools to remove any other materials so that the metal you are selling is as clean as possible.

Heavy Iron

Metal Description:

Heavy iron or structural iron is referring to iron with a thick gauge. This type of iron is usually used for manufacturing items that need to withstand a lot of weight or pressure put on them. The most common use for this kind of iron is structural beams used in the construction industry.

Where it is Found:

The most common place to come across heavy iron or structural iron is within buildings of all types. This could be a house or a multi-story structure. This type of iron is used to create a sturdy frame from which the rest of the building can be supported from. Thick gauge iron plate is also used in the manufacturing industry to make steel tanks and massive plant.

How to Make the Most Money:

To make the most money from heavy iron or structural iron it needs to be cut into 5ft lengths. Scrap yards will usually offer two separate prices. One for when the iron has been cut into 5ft lengths and the other when it is over 5ft. This price difference can vary some, and it is not always cost effective to spend the time cutting up the iron. Check with the scrap dealer for the latest prices.

Reinforcing Bar (Rebar)

Metal Description:

Reinforcing bar or rebar are the metal bars or metal mesh used to increase the structural integrity of the concrete. It can range in thickness from a few millimetres to several centimetres thick.

Where it is Found:

You will not see it very often unless it is surplus rebar from a construction project. The main industry for obtaining scrap reinforcing bar for selling is the demolition industry. When demolishing buildings, the concrete making up the fabric of the building and foundations will be compressed under very high pressure so that the concrete crumbles away. The now exposed reinforcing bar can be cut into lengths for easy recycling.

How to Make the Most Money:

To get the best price for your reinforcing bar or rebar, it must be free from any other materials. When the concrete is being munched it be must be entirely separated from the steel rods.

If concrete remains when the material gets to the scrap yard, they may give you a lower price or refuse the load altogether.

Cast Iron

Metal Description:

Cast iron is an alloy of iron, containing carbon, silicon, manganese plus other materials. It is one of the oldest types of metal used and can be traced back to 6th century China. It is a very brittle metal but has a high load-bearing strength.

Where it is Found:

Cast iron is still widely used today in many different forms and products. In a domestic setting, you are likely to come across cast iron as things like drainage pipes, guttering and garden ornaments. Garden gates and railings can also be made from cast iron.

In a commercial setting cast iron is used to make structural beams. This is due to its high load bearing strength. Since the creation of steel, it is hardly used in modern construction projects so is more likely to be found in older buildings or structures. One of the most famous cast-iron structures in the UK is The Iron Bridge, in Shropshire. This was the first major cast iron bridge built in the world.

How to Make the Most Money:

Where cast iron is used it is usually fixed to other materials. These other materials will need to be removed before the cast iron is scrapped. Whether it be plastic, timber or concrete, to make the most money the cast iron will need to be totally free from other materials.

Cars (ELV)

Metal Description:

As you will be aware cars are made up of very many different materials. The main material used in cars and other automobile manufacturing is steel. This means that even after your car has given up, it can be sold for its current scrap value. Most scrap cars are stripped of all useful and reusable parts. There is a big aftermarket in second hand car parts. They are then de-polluted (hazardous fluids removed)

Things to Remember or do Before Selling:

Before taking your car or having it collected to ensure that you have checked it a few times and emptied it of all your personal belongings. Once it is a cube, there is no way to get your favourite CD or pair of sunglasses you have left behind.

Also, remember to have your ID ready (this is a legal requirement for all scrap metal deals) and have the vehicles V5 document ready. The scrap dealer buying the car will know how to fill the form in. Be sure you contact the DVLA once the vehicle has been scrapped.

How to Make the Most Money:

Different scrap car dealers offer different services with some offering a 'free' collection service. Be sure you ask if there is any reduction in the scrap value of the car by having it collected. You may receive a better deal if you take the car to them.

Shopping around may also make you some more money. Search through our site and check the prices of the different scrap car dealers. Just like with any scrap metal deal, make sure you are happy with the deal before you are committing to it.