Recycling scrap metal is one of the best ways to make some extra money on the side while helping the environment. If you have never recycled scrap metal before, you may be unfamiliar with the best items to recycle for scrap, how to prepare scrap metal before recycling, and the process of unloading scrap metal. Here are three tips that can help you whether you are making a one-time trip to a scrap yard or looking to become a regular scrap metal recycler.

Know Which Household Items to Keep for Scrap

Every household has appliances, wiring, pipe fittings, and other sources of scrap metal that need to be replaced over time. Unfortunately, many people throw away items that contain scrap metal without realizing that they could make easy money by hauling them to a scrap yard. It is a good idea to make a list of all the items in your home that contain recyclable metal before they need to be replaced.

Your kitchen will likely contain more sources of scrap metal than any other room in your home. Old pots and pans can be recycled, as well as stainless steel silverware. You can also strip the copper wires off of microwaves, toasters, and virtually any other electronic appliances. Even the aluminum found in soda cans and used aluminum foil can be recycled.

There are a few major appliances throughout the home that you could sell for scrap metal if you have the means to haul them. Refrigerators, washers, dryers, air conditioners, ovens, hot water heaters, and televisions all contain significant amounts of copper, aluminum, and/or steel for recycling. However, it is best to recycle these items only after you are sure they cannot be repaired, as you will always make more from selling a functioning appliance than you would by selling it for scrap.

Sort and Prepare Your Scrap Metal Before Recycling

Some sorting and preparation is necessary before the scrap yard will accept your scrap metal. The first step is to remove any non-metal materials such as rubber, wood, cardboard, and plastic. Many scrap yards will reject your load of scrap metal if it has non-metal materials mixed in, and those that do accept it will often pay bottom dollar.

The next step is to sort your metals into ferrous and non-ferrous groups. You can easily sort out ferrous metals like steel and iron by testing them with a small magnet. If you have a lot of scrap metal, it may be wise to take ferrous and non-ferrous metals in separate loads. As a final step, identify the type of metal that each piece of scrap is made of and sort them accordingly.

Haul Scrap Metal in an Open-Bed Truck

While you may have enough room in the back of an SUV or even the trunk of your car to haul your scrap metal, you can expedite your visit by hauling the metal in an open-bed truck. When you arrive at the scrap yard, you will first drive your vehicle onto a scale to determine the total weight of your vehicle and the scrap metal.

If you are driving an open-bed truck, you will not have to manually unload the scrap metal. Instead, a scrap yard employee will use an electromagnetic crane to lift off ferrous scrap metal or a forklift to unload non-ferrous metal. Finally, your vehicle will be weighed again to determine the weight of the scrap you brought in.

Recycling scrap metal is not difficult if you know the best ways to find, prepare, and haul metal. Use these tips to start recycling scrap metal today and stop throwing away easy money. For more information, contact a local company that specializes in metal recycling in Chicago, Illinois.