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How to Prepare Scrap Metal for Sale and Get the Best Prices

pile of household scrap metal

Maximise your profits by knowing the ins and outs of how to prepare scrap metal, and we’re here to help you do just that. The more you know, the more you can potentially gain – by making sure your scrap is free of contaminants, both you and the buyer will benefit. Whilst many scrap companies come across large quantities of metal variants from plumbers and builders, homeowners are also encouraged to make money from their own scrap, and it’s certainly an incentive to recycle appropriately and responsibly.

First of all you will need to know what ferrous and nonferrous metals are:

  • Ferrous material has the presence of iron, carbon and other alloy elements – examples include steel, iron shavings and clippings
  • Nonferrous are metals such as aluminium, brass, copper, lead and silver

Three steps you will want to take before shipping your scrap metal over to the buyer:

Make sure your material is recyclable

Nonmetallic materials such as cardboard, glass, liquids and plastic can’t be recycled with scrap metals.

Identify and sort

Having these materials mixed in with your scrap metal will void the whole transaction, so you will want to sort your materials correctly.

Load your materials

Separate ferrous from nonferrous metals and unload them separately.

Magnet assessment

If you are unsure whether you have ferrous or nonferrous metals you can do your own magnet assessment.

The test: If your material attracts to the magnet you have a ferrous material. This material generally isn’t worth much but will still add some money to your pocket. If your magnet doesn’t attract the material then it’s nonferrous. These can be very valuable and worth more when taken to be scrapped.

Once you have done your assessment keep these materials together and ring your local scrap yard to ask for more information in regards to their procedure.

Preparing metals


If the aluminium you’re taking to be scrapped is too large, this will be of less value than a smaller piece that can be easily placed into the furnace. The reason for this is because the larger piece will require more work, as it will have to undergo production costs in order to manipulate into the furnace. So having the perfect sized piece of aluminium at a higher grade could be worth much more than a larger piece of the same grade.


The value of this material is dependant on the grade. Make sure that the materials are clean as any oil, lubricants or cutting fluids as these can decrease their value.


You may have bar stock, pipe or wire – you can increase the value of your wires if you strip back the insulation. Of course, this will decrease the weight but increase the purity.

Hill Metal Recycling Ltd work across Cambridge, Essex, Hertfordshire and London providing customers with scrap metal and cable recycling services, scrap metal collection, car collection and depollution. If you would like more information about our recycling services, please give us a call today.