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Start Recycling Scrap Metal - Dallas, TX

START RECYCLING SCRAP METAL: SCRAPPING 101

So you want to start recycling scrap metal for extra money? This can be a lucrative venture, and many of our customers here at Encore also consider it a fun hobby. The best way to get the most out of scrap metal recycling is to understand a bit about the process before you start recycling metal, so here’s a quick primer just for you.

What to Look for When You Start Recycling Scrap Metal

Almost any scrap metal is worth something, but different metals bring different amounts of money. Aluminum and copper are particularly profitable for many of our regular customers, as these materials are used in a wide variety of manufacturing processes. Steel is not worth as much per pound, but is very easy to find virtually anywhere.

Before throwing out any car parts, electrical or plumbing components, or electronics like computers and cell phones, try bringing them by our facility. If you own a business that produces a lot of scrap metal, you may want to make regular visits to our facility or learn about our free recycling container pickup and dropoff program.

Even if you don’t own a business, you may be able to make extra money by offering to help clean up construction sites and take scrap metal—just be sure to get explicit permission from the site owner or construction company, in writing if possible.

Scrap Metal Recycling Law

It’s important to follow the law when recycling scrap metal. There are many local and state laws in place to prevent the theft of valuable metals, which is a very common crime. It’s always a good idea to do your research when it comes to scrap metal recycling laws in Texas—if you have any questions about the current state of scrap metal recycling law, give us a call! We’re here to help our customers follow the law by answering questions and enforcing the rules.

For recycling any material besides aluminum cans, you will have to fill out some paperwork and become an Encore member. Once you have become a member, you can recycle at our facility anytime—just be sure to leave some extra time on your first visit to fill out your paperwork. This is a Texas state law that also applies to all other Texas scrap metal recycling facilities.

For particularly valuable or rare metals, it’s also often a good idea to have a way to prove or explain your ownership of the metal. The laws for recycling scrap metal are always changing in Texas and elsewhere, so be sure to give us a call if you have questions about any particular item.

How to Make the Most Money from Your Scrap

Preparing your scrap well before bringing it into your local scrap recycling facility will help you make more money, while also keeping recycling facility employees safe and maximizing the environmental benefits of recycling scrap metal.

Preparing your scrap metal mostly consists of two steps: sorting it and cleaning it.

Sorting different types of metal out from one another will save you time at the facility, and will also help the facility pay you more for your scrap. Although sorting is a lot of work, it’s always worth it to sort your metal up front.

Cleaning your scrap metal will also earn you more money, because if you bring in dirty scrap, adjustments will have to be made to the total weight of your material. Bringing in clean scrap allows Encore and other Dallas scrap metal recyclers to pay you the most for your scrap, and also protects our workers and equipment.

We hope we have inspired you to start recycling scrap metal today. Come see us!

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Safety Tips for Scrap Metal Recyclers - Dallas, TX

SAFETY TIPS FOR SCRAP METAL RECYCLERS

Recycling scrap metal can be lucrative and even fun, but it is important to know of the possible dangers and risks associated with scrap metal recycling as well. Knowledge of the risks allows you to better prepare yourself to gather, clean, and transport metal in the safest way possible—for you and those around you. With these safety tips (and perhaps a quick look back at our post about radioactive scrap metals) you are ready to hit the road.

Recycling scrap metal safety involves using the proper materials and equipment and knowing the right techniques to handle metal as safely as possible. Once you have the right equipment and the right technique, you’re ready to safely recycle scrap metal with Encore.

Safety Tips for Scrap Metal Handling Materials and Equipment

In order to recycle scrap metal safely, you’ll need a few important pieces of safety equipment. One of the most important pieces of safety equipment is a good pair of protective gloves. To maximize your safety, it’s best to use gloves of a heavy material (such as leather) that protect your forearms as well as your hands.

Protective gloves are especially important when dealing with sheet metal, especially very thin sheet metal, as this can cut you very easily—however, proper safety equipment is even important when dealing with something as simple as aluminum cans. Any metal can hurt you if handled improperly.

In addition to protecting you from cuts, wearing protective gloves will keep you from getting potentially harmful materials from dirty scrap on your skin. To fully protect from these materials, adequate clothing and eye protection are also needed.

If you’re going to recycle large amounts of scrap metal, you’ll also certainly need a dolly to help with the weight. Lower back injuries are common among scrap metal recyclers, and can easily be prevented with the right equipment and proper lifting techniques.

Techniques for Safely Handling Scrap Metal

The most important safety technique for properly handling scrap metal is a good lifting technique. This one appears on every list of safety tips that ever existed, but it remains true: even for a relatively light load, always lift with your legs instead of your back. This will prevent potentially debilitating, permanent lower back injuries.

To further protect your back, always use a dolly or have a partner help you when necessary. Never lift more than half of your body weight, even if you feel you can lift more without injury. Also, be sure to distribute loads as evenly as possible—a few extra minutes of preparation before lifting a pile of heavy material can save you a lifetime of pain.

Understanding proper technique is also important to transporting scrap metal. Be sure that you fully understand how to use any equipment needed to transport metal, whether it’s a pickup truck or something more specialized, such as a forklift. Be sure to understand the weight limits for all equipment, and do not exceed them under any circumstances.

Also, when you’re transporting scrap metal on the road, be sure to clearly mark any oversized loads so that you do not endanger other drivers. Be certain that all of your scrap metal is tied down and covered properly, with tarps, ratchet straps, and cargo nets. This is important not only to your safety, but to the safety of others on the road.

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Radioactive Scrap Metal - Dallas, TX

RADIOACTIVE SCRAP METAL

Because of various factors, including oil processing equipment use and nuclear waste disposal, some scrap metal can become contaminated with radiation. Most scrap metal recycling facilities in Dallas, including Encore, cannot recycle this type of material—and even those rare facilities that can recycle radioactive scrap metal have special procedures in place that often affect the value of the metal.

Although radioactive scrap metal, also known as “hot” scrap metal, is rare, it’s important to be aware of the concerns around radioactivity if you plan to recycle scrap metal.

Why Radioactive Scrap Metal is Harmful

Radioactive scrap metal is harmful in the way that all radioactive material is harmful: it can cause cancer, as well as more immediate injuries such as burns. It can also significantly damage metal recycling equipment.

In addition to these effects, a single piece of radioactive material in a load of scrap metal can contaminate the entire load of scrap metal. This is why scrap metal recyclers employ a variety of sensitive radiation checking equipment before allowing scrap into the facility. If a load of scrap metal displays any signs of radioactive contamination, the entire load will in all likelihood be rejected.

Sometimes radiation sensors will go off even when there is not significant contamination, which will be resolved by closer investigation. For example, if you have recently received an x-ray and handle scrap metal, your metal may set off a sensitive sensor, but should not be significantly contaminated.

Although radioactive scrap metal is relatively rare, especially when compared to the huge amounts of radiation-free scrap metal out there, this is another reason that it is always of the utmost importance to use common sense safety practices when handling any scrap metal. The side effects of exposure to radiation can be very serious.

How We Check for Radioactive Contamination of Scrap Metal

There are radiation sensors active at our facility at all times to check incoming scrap metal for any signs of radiation contamination. Unfortunately, although we do accept a wide variety of materials for recycling, we cannot accept any significantly radioactive scrap material at Encore.

If you plan to do a significant amount of scrap metal recycling with us or another Dallas scrap metal recycler, it may be worth investing in a radiation meter of your own to check your scrap metal before bringing it in.

Also, if you have scrap metal from a particular site rejected for radiation, there may be active radiation contamination at that site—meaning that no scrap metal collected from that site will be viable for recycling.

You should also look out for radiation sources when looking for recyclable scrap metal. For example, some types of medical equipment, such as x-ray machines, are radioactive sources. Dismantling these machines or even storing them near your scrap metal could cause radioactive contamination if the radioactive source inside the machine is exposed.

To prevent radioactive contamination of your scrap and exposure of your body to harmful levels of radiation, do some research on some of the most common radioactive sources. Also, never dismantle any piece of machinery if you do not know what it is, what it does, and what’s inside. Special equipment and training are necessary to safely dismantle even many non-radioactive scrap materials, such as CRT tubes from old televisions and monitors.

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Penny Scrapping Controversy - Dallas, TX

PENNY SCRAPPING CONTROVERSY

One of the biggest areas of contention in the scrap metal community involves the collection of copper pennies. Here’s some background on the subject to help you form your own opinions. But let us state clearly at the very beginning: scrapping or melting down a copper penny to be scrapped is currently illegal.

Why People Collect Copper Pennies

As many scrap metal enthusiasts know, copper is a fairly valuable metal. Because of this, older pennies that contain copper are often considered to be worth more than their face value in scrap metal. Many estimate that each copper penny is worth about one and a half cents, though this fluctuates every day with the market value of copper.

However, melting these pennies down is illegal, meaning that they are not viable for scrapping at this time. Despite this, many scrap metal and coin collecting enthusiasts collect copper pennies, hoping that the ban on melting them down will be lifted in the near future.

Because of the significant enthusiasm around the collection of copper pennies, many collectors end up paying a premium on copper pennies. This is not worth the money in most cases for several reasons.

The first is that copper pennies are readily available at face value. The second is that there is no guarantee that the ban on melting pennies down will ever be lifted. The third is that copper pennies are not pure copper; rather, they consist of 95% unrefined copper.

While paying a premium for copper pennies is not a good idea, you may think it’s worth your time to get copper pennies in other ways. Simply picking up a roll or box of pennies at your local bank could net you a few copper pennies, for example, if you take the time to sort them.

While there is no guaranteed return on this investment because the ban may never be lifted, you also cannot lose money “buying” pennies at face value. Some scrap and coin collectors don’t think sorting through the pennies is worth the time, while others think it is a fun hobby and a good way to find rarer pennies that fetch good sums of money on the open market.

Where to Find Copper Pennies

Almost any penny made before 1982, and some pennies from the year 1982, are made of 95% copper. If you’re interested in collecting pennies for their copper scrap value, these are the pennies to look out for.

Copper Penny Collection Dos and Don’ts

If you decide to start collecting copper pennies, please follow this list of suggestions. This will help you maximize the potential return on your investment and keep you from breaking any laws regarding the scrapping of currency.

DO separate pre-1982 pennies from post-1982 pennies.

DO investigate any pennies from the year 1982 more closely—some of these are copper as well!

DO get pennies from a legitimate source such as a bank (or, look for copper pennies in your pocket change!)

DO keep your pennies secure. They are real currency, and you’re also choosing to treat them as an investment.

DO NOT pay a premium for copper pennies, unless the coins have value for some other reason (such as rarity or collectability).

DO NOT attempt to sell pennies to a scrap metal recycler.

DO NOT melt pennies down yourself and try to sell the resultant material to a scrap recycler. Scrap recyclers know their metals, and will report you to the relevant authorities.

DO NOT expect full “spot price” for your pennies if they become legal to scrap. They are only 95% copper, and this copper is “unrefined.”

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Scrap Metal Recycling Costs and Benefits - Dallas, TX

DO RECYCLING COSTS OUTWEIGH THE BENEFITS?

Many often wonder whether or not recycling costs may actually cancel out the environmental benefits. This is especially true for scrap metal recycling, which is more difficult for individuals and expensive for industry in most cases, than plastic or cardboard recycling is.

A true cost-benefit analysis that takes all factors into consideration, though, will always show that the benefits of recycling, including scrap metal recycling, truly do outweigh recycling costs—for individuals, the recycling industry, and the planet.

Let’s take a closer look at this by focusing on the costs and benefits of recycling in great detail, so you can decide if scrap metal recycling costs—or the cost of any other form of recycling—outweigh the negatives.

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Top 3 Things You Didn't Know About Scrap Metal Recycling on Construction Sites

TOP 3 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT SCRAP METAL RECYCLING ON CONSTRUCTION SITES

Every responsible construction business has two goals: make a profit and limit its negative impact on the environment. The same goes for demolition crews.

One of the best ways to protect the environment while offsetting the cost of equipment and labor on a given job is to recycle scrap metal with a local Dallas scrap recycler.

Most construction crew leaders know about scrap recycling, but many worry about cost, quality, and time. Here are some of the top things most construction and demolition business owners don’t know about the scrap recycling industry—and some of the ways having this knowledge can benefit you, your team, and our planet.

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Recycle Steel Scrap Metal in Dallas, Texas

HOW TO RECYCLE STEEL IN DALLAS, TEXAS

Recycling steel is great for the environment, and it’s also one of the most valuable metals to recycle. If you want to make some extra money recycling metal, or you’re just interested in how scrap metal recycling works, steel is a great place to start learning.

What is steel?

 Steel is a highly versatile metal made by mixing iron with materials such as carbon. Because it is an alloy, or a metal made from a chemical mixture, it can be made in a wide variety of ways for different applications. It’s used in everything from household appliances like refrigerators and washer-dryers to cars to firearms to aviation and manufacturing equipment. There’s even plenty of steel being used under the ocean and in space right now!

Steel is also one of the best materials in the world to recycle. Because steel is so widely used, it is always worth something—and because it consists of so much iron, very little material is lost during the recycling process. This means that used steel appliances and components can easily be recycled into new steel appliances and components, which helps offset the environmental impact of mining new iron and producing new steel.

Because it’s one of the most valuable and eco-friendly metals to recycle, it is also the most widely recycled material—metal or otherwise—in the world. In the United States in 2000, over 60 million metric tons of steel were recycled. As recently as 2008, 83% of US steel was recycled.

Even though there’s a high supply, though, there’s an even higher demand for steel. This means that recycling your scrap steel can make you money while you help protect the environment at the same time.

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Scrap Metal Recycling Benefits For Small Business - Dallas, TX

SCRAP METAL RECYCLING BENEFITS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Dallas scrap metal recycling facilities offer huge benefits for small businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. No matter what kind of business you own, you probably have some recyclable scrap metal—meaning you can make some extra money while improving the environment.

Dallas Aluminum Can Recycling

Aluminum can recycling is often the simplest and fastest of the many recycling services offered at Encore. Whether you’re a restaurant or bar owner who goes through thousands of cans a day, or you’d just like to get a bit of extra money for the cans employees use in the break room, recycling aluminum cans is a great way to make extra money for your business quickly.

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What determines the value of scrap metal? Dallas, TX

WHAT DETERMINES THE PRICE OF SCRAP METAL?

Scrap metal price is determined by the type of metal, location, quantity, and current market value. Copper sells for more than aluminum; scrap metal sells for more here in Dallas than in Mumbai, India; and a ton of scrap metal will sell for more than a few pounds.

As for current market value, you can follow the “spot price” of a given metal. Spot price is the price that companies pay for pure ingots of a metal. Kitco offers several helpful charts showing the current and historical market spot price for various popular metals here: http://www.kitcometals.com/charts/copper.html

Scrap metal categories determine price

Copper, lead, stainless steel, and most of the other metals we recycle fall into various categories that are used to determine value. Copper can be subcategorized into Bare Bright Copper, Copper #1, Copper #2, Copper #3, for example. Aluminum can be subcategorized as Cast Aluminum, Sheet Aluminum, Aluminum Cans, Extruded Aluminum, and the list goes on. Sometimes these subcategories are obvious, but sometimes there can be some controversy. One scrap metal recycler may classify your copper as Bare Bright Copper, while another classifies it as Copper #1. One may grade your metal as cast aluminum, while another grades it as “pot metal”—which is worth about 40% less!

For more information about scrap metal categories, take a look at our “Metals We Buy” page.

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How to Get Started as a Scrap Metal Recycler - Dallas, TX

LOOKING FOR EXTRA INCOME? THINK ABOUT SCRAP METAL RECYCLING

Not only is scrap metal recycling a responsible thing to do as natural resources become depleted, it can also be a profitable endeavor for scrap metal recyclers. Businesses often find it more profitable to create products from recycled materials, and a scrap metal recycler forms a valuable link in the supply chain to divert these materials from landfills back into the manufacturing cycle.

First, find your scrap metal:

In most cases, you’ll be looking for metal—anything from aluminum cans to old pipes to electrical wiring. But Encore Recyclers also takes e-waste, such as cell phones, computer circuit boards, and other electronic materials. We also accept neoprene, a rubbery product manufactured by Dupont to make scuba suits, cases for electronics, and medical braces.

If you’re a business, think about collecting unwanted objects from your offices or clients to recycle. Plumbers, general contractors, and carpenters will often find used appliances, metal pipes, discarded siding, and other pieces of metal that are suitable for recycling. As an individual, think about recycling broken bicycles, metal tools, and old appliances. In Dallas, it’s popular for people to pick up scrap materials on bulky trash pickup day. You can find the bulk trash pickup day for any given neighborhood here: http://dallascityhall.com/departments/sanitation/Pages/brush_and_bulky.aspx

Encore Recyclers will accept almost any metal object, as long as it does not contain dangerous chemicals or is radioactive.

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