When you perform major renovations in your house, you are likely to find a lot of scrap metal at the end of the projects which you can simply choose to dispose of with your garbage during clean-up. However, recycling is more beneficial in terms of promoting a healthier planet. Moreover, you can often earn some money by presenting the scrap material to a specialist recycler. If you decide to take this option, you should consider segregating the metals into distinct classes. This will allow the recycler to assess the value of the material efficiently. Here are the common types of metals that you can recycle and guidelines on identifying and classifying each.

Ferrous Metals

Ferrous is a common term used to refer to metals with iron in their structure. These types of metals are the most common in home construction because they are widely available and considerably inexpensive. Unfortunately, this means that the resale price for the scrap is also quite low. Still, recycling iron-based metals lowers the demands on mineral ores, and if you have substantial quantities of ferrous metal, you can make some good money.

You can identify ferrous metals using a magnet since iron is highly magnetic. Pure iron and carbon steel scraps are likely to have reddish-brown deposits of rust on the surfaces. Stainless steel is also ferrous, but some stainless steels do not stick to a magnet. Look for fairly heavy metals with polished or brushed surfaces.

Copper and Brass

Copper is highly valuable compared to ferrous metal, so you should collect the material in both pure and alloy forms. Pure copper is usually reddish in colour if it was protected from the elements. If it was exposed to moisture, air and chemicals, it will be dark brown with significant green patches. You will find copper scrap in form of electrical wires, plumbing pipes, roofing materials and even internal components of appliances. Brass is the most common alloy, and it is a heavy yellow metal with a shade of red. It is often used to fabricate plumbing fixtures, door handles and keys.


Aluminium is normally used extensively in building home features like door and window frames, gutters, siding, roofing, decorative items like facades and other elements. This type of material is usually silvery white, but the surfaces might have been painted to improve aesthetics. You can differentiate this metal from other materials because it is lightweight and thin sheets of it easily bend under pressure. 

Now that you know a bit more about various types of metals, you will be more prepared to do some scrap metal recycling at the end of your home renovation.