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How to Repurpose or Recycle Your Scrap Metal

If you have scrap metal taking up space in your garage, basement, or workshop, you probably have something more valuable than you realize. If you’re handy or crafty, you can turn your metal into art or furniture, or you can simply gather up your unused scrap and recycle it for cash. Our scrap metal recycling company in Raleigh is sharing how to repurpose and recycle your metal to help you get started.

raleigh nc scrap metal recycling

Why Recycle or Reuse Your Scrap Metal

Tons of rusting metal are sitting in landfills and junkyards across the country, taking up valuable space and in some cases, contaminating the soil and waterways with old oil, paint, and chemicals. Instead of adding to the problem, you can do one of two things:

  1. Repurpose your metal: Turning a bit of trash into something useful or attractive.
  2. Recycle your metal: Taking it to a professional company who processes and melts it into big blocks or sheets to be reused. Metals like steel can be recycled repeatedly without it breaking down or losing structural integrity, making it both valuable and sustainable.

How to Repurpose Your Scrap Metal

If you have an idea of how you can transform old metal into new art or furniture, follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t try to use anything that may have dangerous chemicals, like a car battery or propane
  • Clean any grease, oil, or dirt from the metal
  • Smooth away sharp edges to avoid cuts or injury
  • Make sure you have proper safety gear for working with metal, including heavy gloves and eye protection

Simple Ideas to Repurpose Old Metal Items

Even beginning DIY-ers can upcycle metal with just some basic tools and a bit of creativity. Some simple, popular items include:

  • Using chalk or spray paint to turn old wire spools into modern end tables or stools
  • Paint a file cabinet and use it as a quirky, portable minibar
  • Old metal wagons, wheelbarrows, or washtubs make excellent planters (just put holes in the bottom for proper drainage)

How to Recycle Scrap Metal

If you don’t want to dive into DIY, don’t worry. Recycling scrap metal can put enough money in your pocket to buy something new! Here’s how to get started:

  • Gather your old, unused metal – this could include metal shelving, hub caps, light fixtures, or hub caps
  • Remove as much non-metal from the item as possible, including wood, plastic, or fabric
  • Clean away any grease or dirt
  • Separate it into ferrous and non-ferrous metal. Use a magnet to determine what is ferrous as the magnet will stick to it, and it won’t stick to non-ferrous metal like aluminum, copper, and brass
  • Bring it to your local metal recycling center or, if you have a large, industrial-size volume, see if you can schedule a scrap metal pickup

What Can’t Be Recycled

While most scrap metal centers can take a wide variety of metals, there are some things it’s not safe to recycle. This includes:

  • Paint cans with traces of paint in them
  • Propane tanks
  • Motor oil cans
  • Electronics, including laptops and cell phones
  • Anything containing mercury

Stop By Our Scrap Metal Recycling Facility in Raleigh Today

At Wall Recycling, we pay top dollar for your scrap metal. Either bring it to one of our four scrap metal recycling locations in Raleigh, Durham, Goldsboro, Fayetteville, or Wilson, or if you’re local to these locations, give us a call at (919) 582-7777 or fill out the form below to schedule a pickup.