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What to Know About Scrap Metal Recycling

January 26, 2021


You may not typically think of scrap metal recycling as a green initiative, but it is an important part of being environmentally friendly. Scrap metal recycling is a very beneficial and potentially even lucrative option compared to other forms of recycling. Learn more about what scrap metal recycling is, common types of metal recycled from automobiles, how to recycle scrap auto parts and it’s benefits.


What is Scrap Metal Recycling and How Can I Recycle Auto Parts?

Simply put, scrap metal recycling is a process that recovers and processes scrap metal from end-of-life products to be re-introduced as a raw material in the production of new goods. Much like forms of recycling, scrap metal recycling has many environmental and economic benefits.

Owners of an end-of-life car can choose to sell auto parts to a local salvage yard. Most auto parts can be recovered and re-used, with a recycling rate greater than 90% for a typical vehicle. At a salvage yard, vehicles will be inspected to see which parts can be recover and re-sold. The remaining metal parts are crushed into a flat metal chunk.


Environmental Effects

There are many environmental benefits to scrap metal recycling. Here are the environmental effects of scrap metal recycling:

  • it can reduce Co2 emissions from pollutants like cars and factories
  • it prevents landfill waste
  • it reduces the use of the chemicals needed for ore mining, preventing the contamination of a water supply.
  • compared to mining, uses significantly less fossil fuel.

Scrap metal recycling—like all forms of recycling—is beneficial because it conserves natural resources. When people recycle metal, it reduces the need to mine for virgin materials, such as iron ore, copper, and other minerals. Recycling metals also ensures these items don’t take up precious capacity in Massachusetts landfills, most of which are forecast to close by 2030. Finally, recycling helps create good-paying jobs right here in Massachusetts and contributes to our growing circular economy.”

-Neil Rhein, Keep Massachusetts Beautiful


Types of Metals Recycled

Overall, scrap metal auto recycling can be a lucrative endeavor. Recycled metals used in the automobile manufacturing industry can vary in worth. Here are some common types of metals recycled, car parts for each metal type, and information about the value of each:


Metal #1: Steel

Description: Durable, yet flexible, Steel is commonly used in automobile manufacturing, and one of the most scrapped metals from junk cars. Compared to some recycled metals from cars, steel is not worth as much, but the amount of Steel used for a car makes up for this.

Car Parts: Steel can be found in large car parts, including body parts, the frame of a car, and wheels, among other parts.


Metal #2: Copper

Description: Copper is a non-ferrous metal and can be found in various car parts. In terms of value, copper is considered to be a valuable metal.

Car Parts: The properties of copper (for instance, high electrical and thermal conductivity) makes for good material for certain car parts. Radiators, wiring, alternators, brake tubes, starters, and moving car engine parts, could also consist of copper.


Metal #3: Aluminum

Description: A widely used type of non-ferrous alloy, aluminum is known to be a light-weight, yet durable metal. It is also most known for being a rust-resistant metal.

Car Parts: Aluminum is commonly used in the auto manufacturing industry, found in engines, radiators, pistons, and cylinder heads.


Metal #4: Brass

Description: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and has many different properties. Like aluminum, brass is a rust-resistant metal, and is also heat-resistant.

Car Parts: In the auto manufacturing industry, brass is used in many ways. This metal can be used for such car parts as radiator cores, tubes, and tanks.


In Closing:

Scrap metal recycling is an underutilized green initiative that helps protect the environment. When it comes to used automobiles and junk vehicles, it’s important to recycle.

If you have any questions about scrap metal recycling, we’re here to help. Nationwide Auto Recycling is a Massachusetts-based salvage yard selling used auto parts online.

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