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Identifying Scrap Metals

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If you want to get rid of some of the junk around your home, you can make money by recycling items made from metal. When doing this, it is important that you separate the metals into their own categories because not all scrapyards take all kinds of metals. Once you know what you are looking for, it is pretty easy to identify various types of metals. Here are some of the most common metals you will be dealing with and how to identify them.


The majority of aluminum items in your home are likely going to be aluminum drinking cans. Many pieces of outdoor furniture are also made from aluminum, such as metal folding chairs. You will be able to identify aluminum by its light weight and dark silver/grey colour. If the metal is painted, simply chip away a bit of the paint to see the metal.

Magnetic Metals

It is easy to tell which items go into this category. Simply place a magnet on the metal. If it sticks, the metal is magnetic. There are a few different metals that fall into this category, including steel and iron. You can put all magnetic metals together in one bin without any further sorting.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is usually light in colour and has minimal shine. Another way to identify stainless steel is by its weight. It is heavy. Some stainless steel items may be magnetic. If this is the case, put them in the magnet metals bin, and put the non-magnetic stainless steel into a separate bin.


There are three categories for copper, and it is best to have separate bins for the different types of copper. All copper is a gold/red colour. The first sub-category is copper wiring. If you are throwing away electrical items that no longer work, remove the cords because they have copper wire. This is lighter in colour than the other copper grades. Use wire strippers to get rid of the insulation around the wires.

Plumbing parts, such as tubing, are often made from copper. If you are doing renovations and are putting in new plumbing, you can recycle the copper tubing. The brass fittings will go in a separate bin. If you don't separate the metals, you may not earn as much money because the scrapyards will have to do extra work.

The final copper grade is hefty copper. This is usually found in tanks, such as water heaters. Again, make sure that you remove all of the fittings before recycling tanks.

For more information, contact a company such as Raw Metal Corp.