Metal Recycling: Steel, Aluminum, Copper

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Metal Recycling Center

Have Some Scrap Metals for Recycling? We got you covered!

Do you want to get rid of your scrap metals? At DTG Recycle, we utilize advanced sorting technologies to recognize and efficiently sort materials. DTG Recycle has Metal Recycling Centers all over Washington State. You can drop off your scrap metal at our locations.

In 2019, steel mills in the United States used more than 60 million metric tons of recycled material to generate 87 million metric tons of steel according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

From January 2023 through June 2023, we have recycled over 16,139,380 lb of scrap metals. Find out what type of metals can be recycled, how to prepare your scrap metals for recycling, and how metal is recycled.

How to Prepare Metal for Recycling?

  1. When it comes to scrap metal, a general guideline is that a product should be at least 50 percent metal to be worth recycling, even if it’s surrounded by other materials like plastic. However, if a product has a small amount of metal that’s easy to remove, it’s worth separating it. For example, a plastic three-ring binder isn’t scrap metal, but if you remove the metal rings, they can be recycled.
  2. Scrap metal is categorized as ferrous (containing iron, such as steel) or nonferrous (everything else). You can use a magnet to determine if your metal is ferrous or nonferrous; ferrous metals will stick to a magnet, while nonferrous metals won’t.
  3. You can find a scrap metal recycler near you by using Earth911’s recycling directory. Contact the company or check their website for current payouts and minimum amounts of material required.
  4. Most scrap metal recyclers will ask for identification when you recycle to prevent people from stealing scrap metal like road signs and metal barriers and selling them for scrap.

How to Dispose of Metal for Recycling?

First, you need to find a local recycling facility that accepts metal. Check with your local debris management company for pickup or drop-off options. Separate metal from other materials and place it in a designated recycling bin or dumpster. Consider selling scrap metal to a metal recycling company.

It’s important to properly dispose of metal for recycling to reduce debris and conserve natural resources. Depending on the type and amount of metal you have, there may be different options available for disposal.

What Types of Metals Can Be Recycled?

Nonferrous metals that can be recycled are the following. These metals are important components to make musical instruments, wires and pipe, auto parts, keys, and silverware among many others.

  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless Steel
  • Lead
  • Brass

Ferrous metals that can be recycled are the following. These are commonly used in household appliances. 

  • Iron
  • Steel
  • Cast Iron
  • Tin/Light Iron
  • Steel Rebar

How is Metal Recycled?

Metal recycling involves collecting and sorting scrap metal, melting it down, and then using it to create new metal products. The process helps to conserve natural resources, save energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

1. Collecting Scrap Metal

The first step in collecting scrap metal is to designate specific bins at your home or business to hold the metal safely. If you have a lot of scrap metal, some recycling facilities may be able to help arrange transportation.

2. Sorting

Once the recycling facility has received the scrap metal, the sorting process begins. Metals are separated from other materials and then sorted into ferrous and non-ferrous metals using magnets. The metals are then further sorted by type and cleanliness.

3. Processing

In this stage, the metals are initially compressed and squeezed to reduce their size. Later, hydraulic machinery is employed to cut them into smaller pieces.

The hydraulic machinery is capable of generating sufficient pressure to slice large metal pieces. It achieves this by utilizing a fluid that circulates throughout the machine and the motors, thereby pressurizing it.

4. Shredding

Following that, the scrap metal is passed through hammer mills to shred it into smaller pieces. Shredding the metal has the advantage of increasing the surface area-to-volume ratio, which makes the melting process easier.

5. Melting

The metal is then melted in a furnace set to a specific temperature based on the metal being melted. The size of the metal and furnace affects the melting time. The amount of energy used in this process is far less than what’s required to mine new metals.

6. Purifying of Metal

To ensure quality, metals are purified of any contaminants. This can be done through electrolysis, distillation, and liquation.

Electrorefining is the term used to describe the process of purifying metals through electrolysis. During this process, the impure metal is utilized as the anode, while the refined metal is deposited onto the cathode in an electrolytic cell.

Distillation is a purification method that utilizes zinc and mercury for metals with low boiling points. The process involves heating the impure metal above its boiling point to generate vapors, leaving the impurities behind. As the impurities do not vaporize, they can be separated from the purified metal.

Lastly, the process of separating metals from an ore or alloy is called liquation. The material is subjected to heat until one of the metals begins to melt and separate from the others, and can then be collected.

7. Cooling and Solidifying the Metal

Chemicals may be added to melted metals to create desired properties. The melted metals are then solidified through a cooling process and may be melted into sheets or compacted into blocks for easier production.

8. Transporting the Metal Bars

Once solidified, the metal is packaged and transported to manufacturing facilities where it will be used to create new products.

Which Metals are not Recyclable?

Radioactive metals, mercury, and lead-containing products are not recyclable metals. Here are some examples.

  • Uranium
  • Plutonium
  • Objects containing mercury
  • Lead-containing products (i.e. cathode ray tubes commonly found in TVs and computer monitors)

Why Recycle Metal?

Here are the reasons to recycle metal:

  • Conserves natural resources
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Saves energy
  • Reduces landfill debris
  • Stimulates economic growth
  • Reduces reliance on imported materials

Statistics on Metal Recycling

87 million metric tons of Steel generated from Recycled Metal

According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, U.S. steel mills used more than 60 million metric tons of recycled metal to generate 87 million metric tons of steel in 2019. 1

DTG Recycle recycled over 16,139,380 lb of scrap metals between Jan and June 2023

16,139,380 lb of scrap metals is equivalent to 800+ school buses.

Every ton of scrap metal you recycle, you will save the following...

  • Instead of using virgin ore, using steel scrap lessens CO2 emissions by 58%.
  • Using recycled steel to create new steel lessens water use by 40%, water pollution by 76%, and air pollution by 86%.
  • The energy required for initial manufacture of aluminum is reduced by 95% through recycling.

Need a Quote? Contact Us for Metal Recycling Prices

Get a quote for your metal recycling needs, contact us today at (425) 549-4905. Our team at DTG Recycle is happy to cater to all of your metal recycling requirements. Whether you require regular scrap metal recycling drop-offs or a one-time service, we are committed to providing our customers with affordable and personalized recycling solutions that meet their unique requirements.

Metal Recycling Drop-off Locations

DTG Recycle has Metal Recycling Centers near you.

Our Locations:

FAQs for Metal Recycling Service

Where can I recycle metal?

In most cities, curbside recycling programs only accept metal cans made of aluminum or steel. If you have other types of metals to recycle, you may need to take advantage of bulky debris pick-up provided by your city. To schedule this service, contact your local debris hauler and provide them with information about the metal items you need to recycle. Bulk debris pick-up typically accepts miscellaneous scrap such as ironing boards, aluminum bats, and silverware, as well as large scrap items like appliances and electronics.

How many times can metal be recycled?

Metal can be recycled indefinitely, which means it can be recycled over and over again without losing its quality or properties.

The recycling process for metal involves melting and purifying the metal to remove any impurities, and then reshaping it into new products. The most commonly recycled metals include aluminum, copper, and steel.

How much money can you earn by recycling metal?

The payment you receive for scrap metal recycling is typically based on the weight, so the amount you have is important. Nonferrous metals are generally worth more than ferrous metals. Automotive parts such as engines and batteries are the most valuable metal items for recycling due to their large size and metal content. It's best to wait until you have a significant quantity to ensure maximum payment if you plan to recycle smaller items like cans or coat hangers. DTG Recycle pays for your metal at certain locations.

As of January 2021, the average prices for steel vary between 25 to 50 cents per pound, depending on the type.

Can you recycle metal hangers?

You can take metal hangers to a dry cleaner for reuse. Many second hand stores will accept and resell metal hangers, even if it’s in need of repair. Unwanted hangers are also often donated to some charity shops that will use them again or returned to some large retailers that will recycle them.

What is the easiest metal to recycle?

Aluminum is a popular metal among non-ferrous metal recycling yards due to its ease of processing. About 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use, thanks to its high recyclability rate of 95% to 98%, according to The Aluminum Association. 3 It is also known for its lightweight and silvery-white appearance.

Where does most recycled metal go?

Recycled metal is a sturdy and long-lasting material that finds application in the construction of buildings, ships, and railways. It can be transformed into wires and various tools after the recycling process.

1 Ferrous | ISRI. Retrieved June 15, 2023, from

2 The value of recycling metals | Stena Recycling. Retrieved June 15, 2023, from

3 Aluminum Recycling in the Circular Economy | Rubicon. Retrieved June 15, 2023, from