2 Tips for Easily Distinguishing and Separating Small Pieces of Scrap Metal for Recycling

Whether you are just starting to collect scrap metal or have previously only been taking larger pieces to the recycling centre, you may be wondering how you can incorporate smaller pieces into your loads. While these smaller pieces may not seem like much individually, if there are many pieces of the same type, you may have already figured out they can add up quickly.

Especially if you plan to recycle tiny objects such as bits of wire, nuts, bolts and even bottle caps, you may be thinking there has to be an easier way to sort and keep them organised without having them scattered around your property. Below are a couple of things you can do to make distinguishing and separating smaller pieces of scrap metal easier.

1.  Use a Small Magnet Whenever You Are Uncertain About the Metal Type of a Piece of Scrap

One thing that you can do to help with sorting smaller pieces of scrap metal is to keep a small magnet nearby while you are trying to identify the pieces. Some metals, such as steel or iron, are magnetic and will attract the magnet. These metals are known as ferrous.

However, some metals, such as aluminium and copper, are non-ferrous and will not stick to the magnet. Typically, these metals will bring a higher price per pound, so you want to make sure you keep them separate.

2.  Find Small Containers for the Scrap That Are the Same Type of Metal

Once you have started sorting ferrous and non-ferrous pieces of small scrap metal, you will need to have a container in which to store them. While you could use any type of bin, using a disposable container that is made from the same metal will not only make them easier to identify at the recycling centre, but you will also not have to dump them out because the container can be recycled along with them. For aluminium, for example, place the pieces inside an aluminium can. 

If you have decided to start including smaller pieces of metal in your scrap recycling efforts, using a magnet to identify the metals so that they can be placed in similar containers can help you more easily sort and organise the pieces. Before you haul off the scrap, however, contact the metal recycling centre to find out if they have any particular requirements or further advice to smooth out the process while helping to ensure you get the most money for your scrap.