A lot of people talk about scrap metal and want to learn how to do it themselves and maybe even earn a bit of money from it. However, if you want to know how to scrap metal, you first have to understand that there are actually two types of scrap and you have to make sure you know the difference in order to get it right. The two types of to be aware of are the ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metals. And this is why you should always carry a magnet with you!

How To Scrap Metal – Ferrous

Ferrous metals contain iron. You will find this in appliances, farm implements, vehicles, machinery, and so on. However, don't presume that a particular metal is ferrous. For instance, a push type mower will generally have an aluminum engine, although the handle is likely to be ferrous. Figuring out whether something is ferrous or not is, luckily, quite easy. First of all, do a visual inspection. If there is any rust on it, you can almost guarantee that it is ferrous. Next, stick a magnet on it. If it sticks, it is a ferrous material. If it falls off, it is non-ferrous.

Two of the best ways to discern if a piece of metal you are looking at is made of ferrous metals or not are these: Does a magnet stick to it? And, if it's an older piece of metal, is there any rust on it?

How To Scrap Metal – Non-Ferrous

Non-ferrous metals never rust. They can, however, oxidize. This means that a layer forms outside of the material and it is all too easy to confuse this with rust. Usually, however, you can tell it apart by the fact that rust is porous looking and quite red in color, whereas oxidization is usually flaky and white. Interestingly, the process of rusting and oxidizing is actually virtually the same thing. The bigger clue, however, is that a magnet will not stick to non-ferrous materials. Some of the most common metals you will come across that are non-ferrous include aluminum, copper, brass, stainless steel, platinum, and lead. These are also high value metals, however, so don't discard them just because you can't scrap them with other ferrous elements. The problem is that many of the non-ferrous metals are heavily regulated and you often can't simply scrap them. For instance, platinum is now almost always used in jewelry making. However, it can also be found in catalytic converters. The law states, however, that if you bring a catalytic converter to a scrap yard, you have to bring official documentation with you that demonstrates how you came to be in possession of the catalytic converter. Many scrap yards won't accept it even if you do have that paperwork.

So, if you want to make money out of scrapping, start by buying a magnet. Until you have your foot in the door and you know who accepts what, stick to ferrous materials only. That way, you will be sure that you'll actually be able to earn a bit of money.