Let’s learn a little about the different metals:
Copper is one of the most valuable metals that you can recycle, so keep an eye out for it. It has a reddish color when in good condition, but it can have a dark brown appearance when worn. You can find copper in computer cables, and power cords, and old extension cords. Old plumbing pipes, cooking pans, and electromagnets may also contain copper.
Aluminum may look like steel, but it won’t stick to magnets like the latter. Window frames, car hoods, bicycles, and motorbikes usually contain aluminum. Oh! Those old soda and beer cans in your bin also count.
Stainless steel contains 70% iron. But it is still considered a nonferrous metal and commands a higher price per pound. The reason? It contains, at least, 8% nickel. Appliances and kitchenware, as well as some automotive and aerospace equipment, contain stainless steel. As you may have expected, it looks like regular steel but is not magnetic.
Brass is a combination of zinc and copper, often found in keys, valves, doorknobs, and faucets. This heavy metal has a yellowish color (with a touch of red) but often takes a greenish appearance when left outside for a prolonged period of time.
Bronze is a product of numerous metals including copper, tin, manganese, zinc, aluminum, and nickel. Distinguishing it from brass and copper can be tricky, but one thing to keep in mind is that bronze is water and corrosion-resistant.
Lead is hailed for its industrial properties including corrosion resistance and excellent malleability. But while it is pliable and soft, lead is heavy, making it a good fit for wheel weights and pipes.
Steel is easy to tell apart from other materials because it will stick to a magnet like its life depends on it. It’s also one of the cheapest and heaviest metals around. While steel isn’t valued as much as the nonferrous type, you won’t run out of steel scrap as it’s found in just about anything – from old coat hangers to washing machines.
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