When Doing Spring Cleaning, Don’t Just Throw Away Those Scrap Metals

When doing some spring cleaning we often stumble upon some old or scrap metals around the house. You will often find them in your:

  • Kitchen
  • Living Room
  • Bathroom
  • Garage
  • Garden or Yard

These items might surprise you because they may just be sitting in plain sight. These items can be auctioned off if it’s expensive, sold as an antique, and whatever scrap metal is left can still be sold and make a little money, and you get to help the environment through recycling. First you need to determine the value of the scrap metal using the “metal value test.” You can use a simple household magnet to test if the metal is ferrous or non-ferrous.

  • Ferrous – for instance, steel or iron, from items that originated from your car, cabinets, shelves, chairs, decorative stands, gates, tools, and cast iron pots and pans. Though less valuable at junk yards, they are the most accepted and most properly recycled.
  • Non-ferrous – for instance, copper, aluminum, brass, and bronze from items that originated from your plumbing pipes, inside of air-conditioners, common electrical wires, flooring materials, gutter materials, cans, doors, sidings, window frames, door handles, bathroom fixtures, light fixtures, old keys, pipe valves, instruments, old knick knacks, and decorations. They are more valuable at scrap yards and sold at higher prices.

Did you know that your scrap metals not only help the environment through recycling but also help the country’s economy as well?

  • The scrap metal and recycling industry has grown by 70 percent since 2009.
  • The value of the recyclable metals we waste comes out to around $7 billion. When sold the total value comes out to around $250 million.
  • The value of wasted aluminum cans in 2010 ran up to around $1.1 billion.
  • The value of steel materials people wasted in 2010 amounts to around $3 billion.

Every year, only one-third of all generated metals is re-used. There can be more. In a year, while 82 million tons of scrap metal is recycled, 161 million tons are thrown away and wasted. That’s around 3 pounds of scrap metal per person per day. In 2010 alone, the energy saved from recycled metals and aluminum was equivalent to 17 million barrels of crude oil. That amounts to around 2 days of oil for America’s energy needs. When you don’t recycle scrap metals such as aluminum, one ton of the wasted metals produce:

  • 3,290 pounds of red polluted mud
  • 2,900 pounds of carbon dioxide
  • 789 pounds of solid waste
  • 81 pounds of air pollutants

When you recycle scrap metal, a ton can save other resources such as:

2,500 pounds of iron ore

1,400 pounds of coal

120 pounds of limestone

In short, energy saved using recycled scrap metals amounts to 92% for aluminum, 90% for copper, and 56% for steel. A little scrap metal saved from your home goes a long way.

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