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Which Metals Are Recycled Most in the UK?

Over the last few years, the act of recycling has been on the minds of people around the world. Whereas in the past it was primarily an activity for the more eco-conscious among us, now it’s a part of most people’s day-to-day lives.

With climate change becoming more and more prevalent in people’s minds, and the recent COP27 summit in Egypt seeing world leaders coming together to discuss ways to try and ease its looming threat, recycling is likely to play an even greater role in the future.

Metal is one of the core materials that can be easily recycled. And, unlike with some materials, consumers can even make money from recycling metal due to the vast array of scrap merchants up and down the country keen to take metal off people’s hands. 

At Hill Metal Recycling, we do just that.   

For over 25 years we’ve acted as the most trusted metal recycling company in Essex, handling a wide range of scrap metal in a safe and sustainable way. 

In this article, we’ll outline the most popular metals to recycle in the UK, letting you know how you can do your bit for the planet.    

UK recycling statistics

Before we delve into the details of what metals are most widely recycled in the UK, it’s worthwhile taking a look at people’s general recycling habits. 

As previously mentioned, recycling in the UK has become the norm in recent years. In fact, data from 2021 states that only 3% of UK households say they don’t recycle, with 88% stating they view it as a normal daily task.    

Metal is also the second most commonly recycled material in the country after paper and cardboard. 

Despite the obvious progress the country has made in this area, there is still a long way to go. Currently, the Global Waste Index places the UK 17th. This index ranks nations on how much waste they generate, how much recycling they do and how much they send to landfill. 

As it stands, the UK sits below Austria and one spot above neighbouring Ireland, with South Korea leading the way as the best recycling nation on Earth.  

Most popular metals to recycle in the UK? 

Almost all metals are recyclable to some extent, but in the UK there are a few that tend to be more commonly recycled. These are:

  • Steelthe most commonly recycled metal in the UK, it’s often found in household appliances such as fridges, televisions, ovens and more
  • Aluminiumthis metal can be found in a variety of kitchen utensils and is perhaps best associated with fizzy drink cans 
  • Copper most copper can be found in wiring and appliances that conduct electricity 

Whatever metal you’re looking to recycle, it’s important to check with your local scrap merchants who will be able to advise you on whether they can assist.    

Ferrous or non-ferrous?

If you have scrap metal that you’re looking to recycle, it’s worthwhile understanding the different types of the material. The two main types of metal you’re likely to come across are ferrous and non-ferrous metal. 

Ferrous metals contain iron and non-ferrous ones do not, meaning they have different properties and need to be treated differently when it comes to recycling. Ferrous metals include the likes of steel lead and tin, whereas common non-ferrous types include copper, aluminium and brass

In the UK, ferrous metals are more popular and often more lucrative to sell. However, even though non-ferrous metals might not make you quite as much money, it’s still important to recycle them due to the positive environmental impact the process has.

At Hill Metal Recycling, we’re able to assist with the recycling of a variety of different metals. Over the years we’ve supported tradesmen in a whole host of industries, helping provide them with a place to recycle their scrap at a reasonable price and in an environmentally friendly manner. Operating across Essex and the surrounding areas, to find out more about what we do get in touch with our team today.