• Kurtz Metals

Commonly Asked Scrap Metal Recycling Questions

December 23rd, 2013 by kurtz metals

For over 30 years, we’ve been providing non-ferrous scrap metal recycling to countless customers. Over the years, we’ve gotten many questions about the process, what can and can’t be recycled, and other considerations. Of course we welcome any and all questions—but we’d like to answer some of the common ones here.

First of all, being a non-ferrous metal facility, we don’t handle steel scrap (i.e. auto scrap, steel appliances, structural scrap, etc.). So what are the non-ferrous metals? These are base metals, fundamental to many industries, and include aluminum, copper, nickel, lead, tin, and zinc.  We work in base metals, and the various forms they come in.

One of the most common questions is regarding copper. The most glamorous of the base metals, this comes in many forms, such as tubing, wire (insulated or bare), and copper flashing (used architecturally). It’s also used along with other base metals, such as aluminum copper radiators commonly found in AC units and refrigerators. Also used in cooling systems, this form is a commodity bought as an entity to itself.

Some items are copper-based, but not actually copper. Brass is one commonly-used example, with brass fixtures, sprickets, and plumbing often seen.  These brass items have a certain percentage of copper—i.e. 55% in faucets, and up to 83% in valves—with the remaining material being other elements, such as zinc or tin. However, as the demand for copper has increased and is getting more expensive, brass items tend to use less copper, often replacing it with plastic or die cast, which is made from zinc and is growing in demand.

So what do we buy? Any of the items listed above, as well as copper windings in electric motors, copper in lighting fixtures, and more. What don’t we buy? No junk! This can include light fixtures made of steel scrap, which is of very low value. If you do have an item of low value, it’s best to bring in the item and have the low-value material removed, then sell the material by itself.  We also recommend trimming down an item (en electric motor or copper tubing, for example) as best as possible down to the element.

By recycling your metal, you are getting materials more sophisticated than when they come out of the ground, and the opportunity to have something melted down and changed into something else.

Finally, when it comes to measurement, we buy and sell by weight. Oversized items are not desirable, so they must be broken down to fit into a furnace and made acceptable to consumers. It’s best to strip an item down as much as possible, which will also save you money.

If we didn’t answer your questions here, not to worry. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!

Posted in Advice for Scrappers, blog posts, Metal Prices, Scrap Industry, scrap metal, Scrap Recycling


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