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Fun Facts About Scrap Metal Recycling

Fun Facts About Scrap Recycling

Want to learn more about scrap recycling? Whether you’re just interested in the process in general or you want to start scrapping for yourself, here are a couple fun facts and tips that a lot of people outside the industry simply don’t know.

1. How Scrap Metal Recycling Protects the Environment

We all have at least a vague idea that recycling in general is good for the environment. Why is it good, though, and how does scrap metal recycling in particular help?

Recycling is good for the environment because almost all recycling takes less energy than the process for creating or mining new materials does. Scrap metal recycling is particularly beneficial because of the huge amounts of energy used to mine, refine, process, and ship metals, as opposed to the relatively tiny amount of energy taken to recycle it.

Scrap metal is also great because most of it can be recycled over and over again with no loss in quality. Glass is similar, but paper and plastic can only be recycled a certain number of times before their quality is too compromised for re-use.

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Should You Take Apart an Item For Scrapping?

Should You Take It Apart?

Everything you take into your local scrap yard should be cleaned and sorted to the best of your abilities: it helps you make the most money, and also ensures the safety of the employees at the scrap yard. It might just impress your local scrap yard (and your scrapping friends), too.

However, sometimes you’ll come across items that are quite challenging—and in some cases even dangerous—to properly take apart. In these situations, you have to ask yourself about your expertise, the tools you have on hand, and your willingness to put in the work. Of course, you’ll also have to consider the additional profits you’ll make from taking an item apart before scrapping it.

Easier Than You Think

There are a lot of things you’ll come across in the scrapping world that seem a lot harder to take apart at first glance than they really are. These are worth taking the time and effort to disassemble properly, because you’ll be able to learn how to do it effectively without a huge amount of effort, and because they’re fairly common items.

Desktop computer towers are a big one: because the technology behind computers is so complicated, we almost automatically assume that it’ll be extraordinarily difficult to disassemble one of these. However, taking apart a computer is a lot easier than designing and building a microprocessor. Best of all, it can be done even if you don’t have many tools around: a simple screwdriver will take you a long way.

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Sell It or Scrap It: An Age-Old Conundrum

Sell It or Scrap It: An Age-Old Conundrum

If you get a scrappable item that’s in good working order—or close enough to it that you feel you could polish it up—it’s often hard to decide whether you should take it down to your local scrap yard or put a little work in and try to sell it yourself.

A lot of items that are still perfectly usable end up in recycling and trash facilities over time, and we all know that reusing is just as good for the environment as recycling. How to decide whether or not an item is good for resale?

Know Yourself

A lot of whether you should scrap an item or fix it up and resell it as something fully functional comes down to your expertise and interests. If you repair computers professionally or as a hobby, there’s a much better chance you can give that old laptop its shine again than if you don’t. The same holds true for a mechanic with an old, beat-up car.

In addition to your own expertise and interests, though, there are a few general rules to follow when it comes to deciding whether to scrap or sell a given item.

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Recycling Auto Parts

Recycling Auto Parts

Whether you need to get rid of an old part you replaced yourself, you own an auto shop, or you simply want to know what happens after you take an entire car to your local scrap yard, here’s a bit of information about what auto parts can be recycled and what can’t.

Old Oil (and Filters, Too!)

The oil change might just be the most common task that amateur home mechanics do themselves rather than taking to the shop. While many people just dump the old oil out, that’s not the most environmentally responsible thing to do.

You won’t get paid for old oil and filters at most scrap yards, but taking them to your local auto parts store can be a great way to ensure they’re reused, or at least disposed of properly. Keep in mind that Texas has banned the practice of accepting used oil filters into landfills. If you take these filters to an auto parts store, oil that’s been through your car can actually be purified and used again in many cases! Some auto stores even run discounts or loyalty programs for recycling oil.

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Weights and Measures: A Few Key Things to Know About Scrapping

Weights and Measures: A Few Key Things to Know About Scrapping

Getting the most out of your recyclable scrap metal often means simply knowing what you have—and part of knowing what you have is knowing your weights and measures, and how they affect your bottom line.

We all know what a pound is, and most of the time when you see scrap metal prices displayed, they’ll be in dollars per pound. However, there’s a lot more that goes into truly understanding scrap metal recycling weights and measures.

Other Measurements You’ll Need to Know

While the pound is the basis of virtually everything in scrap metal recycling prices, you’ll need to take a few other things into account too. For example, with precious metals like gold and silver, you may be more often considering the price per ounce instead of the price per pound, because smaller amounts of these types of metals are more valuable.

Also, if you own a business or are very serious about recycling the heavier scrap metals out there (or if you just hold onto your scrap a long time before bringing it into the yard), you may even see your loads weighed in tons!

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Staying Cool While Scrapping - Garland, TX - Encore Recyclers

Staying Cool While Scrapping

The weather is heating up again, which means it’s important to take some time to think about how to stay cool while you’re gathering and working with scrap. It’s not just a comfort concern, but a safety one as well!

While there are plenty of dangers when it comes to collecting, sorting, and cleaning scrap, overheating is one of the most common ways people injure themselves. Follow some of the tips in this post to keep yourself cool!

Keeping Cool While Gathering Scrap

Staying cool while you’re outdoors collecting scrap can be very challenging. It’s not like you can change the weather whenever you want! On top of that, collecting scrap often involves more physical labor than cleaning or sorting it, unless you have something really difficult to dismantle.

Wearing the proper clothing is one of the best ways to keep yourself cool. Short sleeves and shorts are a no go because they leave your arms and legs exposed to potential hazards like sharp edges, but wearing clothing that isn’t too tight and breathes well can make things a lot easier.

It’s not all about your clothing, though! Taking frequent breaks and drinking lots of water will also help you keep your body temperature down, even if you’re collecting scrap in the heat of the day.

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Taking Care of Your Scrapping Truck - Encore Recyclers - Garland, TX

Taking Care of Your Scrap Truck

You might use your scrap truck for work or pleasure as well as your scrapping enterprise, or you might have a truck just for scrapping. Either way, you rely on your scrap truck when it’s time to get the job done—whether you’re out collecting scrap or hauling it to the yard.

Taking the time to take care of your scrap truck properly can keep it dependable for years to come. That means less transportation expense for you and an easier time scrapping for the foreseeable future. In addition to general good advice for taking care of any vehicle, there are a few other things you should consider for trucks used for scrap in particular.

Things to Check and Do

There are a few things you should check on every time you use your scrapping truck:

  • Be sure you have enough fuel for your trip, and keep extra on hand if necessary.
  • Check all of your lights. When you’re carrying a heavy load, it’s important that you can see the road and other drivers can see you!
  • Make sure your tailgate and any tie downs are completely secure before driving with a load of scrap. Losing scrap is losing money at best, and at worst can lead to very serious accidents.

In addition, you should be sure to keep up with all your regular vehicular maintenance, such as regular oil changes. However, that’s not where it ends with a scrap truck.

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Scrapping Aluminum Wire - Encore Recyclers - Garland, TX

Aluminum Wire and How to Scrap It

If you scrap often, chances are you’ve come across some aluminum wire. Wire is one of the best ways to get the most value for each load of scrap you bring into the yard, because it’s easy to work with and it’s easy to find a lot of it at once.

As much as you hear about copper wire, aluminum wire doesn’t seem to get as much attention. While many of the basic principles are the same as far as scrapping it goes, it’s worth noting the differences to ensure you get the most for your scrap!

What Is Aluminum Wire?

Aluminum wire is electrical wire made from aluminum. It’s become more and more popular in recent years because it runs a bit cheaper than copper wire. Although it’s not quite as conductive as copper, it’s also attractive to electricians and builders because it can be a bit easier to work with. That’s because of its greater flexibility as well as its lower pricetag.

Just like copper, steel, and any other kind of wire, aluminum wire has advantages and disadvantages both for the electricians who install it in the first place and for scrappers who get it when it comes time to recycle. That’s why it’s important to know how to identify aluminum wire and get the most for it at your local yard. 

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Recycling Pewter - Garland, TX - Encore Recyclers

How to Find (And How to Scrap) Pewter

Pewter is a metal you don’t hear as much about as the ever-popular copper or ubiquitous steel, but it can still have some serious value at the scrap yard. That being said, finding it for scrap can be a real challenge sometimes.

Pewter is most often used in decorative objects and silverware, and is most commonly found in antique items. Shopping for potential scrap at antique shops can be tough, because antique dealers usually know what they have and price their items at much greater than their scrap value. However, this can occasionally be a fairly successful way to find this metal for scrap.

That being said, there are better ways to find pewter, and it can net you a fair price at your favorite local scrap yard!

What Pewter Is (and Why It’s Valuable)

Pewter is an alloy consisting mainly of tin mixed with other metals and a metal known as antimony. Tin is generally speaking the most valuable component in this alloy, so pewters made with more tin than anything else are usually the most valuable. That’s because tin is a metal with a wide variety of uses, and there’s a lot of demand for tin in the market.

Of course, as with any alloy, the other metals used in creating a given piece of this alloy play a big role, too. One of the problems with scrapping pewter is that the quality and component metals vary pretty widely, which can mean that one two-pound piece is worth a lot more than another that looks almost exactly the same.

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Scrapping Old Tools - Encore Recyclers - Garland, TX

Scrapping Your Tools

If you’re a scrapper, you keep a lot of tools around—and if you’re a contractor, construction worker, or landscaper, you’ve got even more tools. A lot of businesses keep tools around, too. However, tools don’t last forever, and there’s a much more responsible and economical way to get rid of the old ones than chucking them in the trash.

It can be the start of a bad day when one of your power tools cuts out or a socket gets warped, but you can help those tools do one more good thing for the planet (and for your wallet) on their way out.

Why Scrap Tools?

There are plenty of great reasons to scrap your tools instead of simply throwing them out. Obviously, getting even a few cents for your trouble is better than getting nothing at all. On top of that, recycling tools rather than throwing them out means that landfills don’t fill up as quickly, and it also reduces pollution and the energy cost of mining new metals.

There’s more than that, though! As power tools become more and more technologically advanced, there are some seriously valuable metals used in their inner workings. Also, highly specialized tools, like the carbide bits used in machine shops, can be made of very valuable and interesting metals that are always worth scrapping.

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