Are You Hiding Money? – The Scrap Metal Market

Are You Hiding Money? – The Scrap Metal Market

Think twice before your next visit to the tip! P+P have put together a rough map to help you find those household treasures that could land you some cash.

While a lot of effort is being put into reducing our daily plastic use, statistics indicate that the UK falls below average when it comes to metal recycling. We’ve spoken previously on metal sustainability, and discussed how metal is endlessly recyclable, so why aren’t we tapping into its benefits in the same way we are with plastic? It turns out doing so can pay off in the short term and long term: putting some pennies in our pockets, whilst contributing to the world’s sustainability efforts!

Metal recycling centre EMR carried out a survey, via YouGov, which showed only 32% of people in the UK are selling their scrap metal to merchants. Scrap merchants pay you for your unwanted metals, and it turns out they have use for the stuff that might just be hiding in your garden shed or even your kitchen cupboards!

You just need to know what to look for, so we’ve created a rough guide to help you do just that.

Let’s start off with the simple stuff that you might already be doing:

Recycling household metal waste

The metals below can be recycled easily in your regular recycle bin.

  • Drink cans
  • Food tins (push the tin lid inside the tin)
  • Chocolate/sweet tins
  • Aluminium foil (scrunch the foil together to form a ball)
  • Aluminium food trays and tubes (remove any plastic caps)
  • Aerosol cans (remove the plastic cap)
Recycling more valuable metal

In terms of the more valuable items, you’re not going to come across these as often but it can pay off when you do.

(Keep in mind that it’s hard to give a general price for different kinds of scrap metal, as they fluctuate all the time. The condition can affect the price too – corrosion and contamination can make a certain kind of metal much less valuable.)


There’s a number of household items that contain steel, making them perfect for scrapping. Old ladders, coat hangers, beams and pipes could all contain steel.

The kitchen could be a better source of the more valuable items – catering equipment, old cutlery, even parts of old fridges could be valuable.


Aluminium could be sourced from building materials such as gutters, awnings, sidings, signs and more. It’s very lightweight meaning it’s often used in electronics – so anything old that can’t be resold intact could be sold for scrap.

Don’t neglect to check your furniture! Everything from tables and chairs to lamps can be made of aluminium, as well as TV antennae and satellite dishes.


If you have copper wires or pipe left over from a plumbing or electrical job, then you should definitely bring it to a scrap dealer as copper is known to get a good price. These can be found in everything from washing machines to dishwashers, cameras, blenders, computers and much more. However, taking apart these appliances to look for copper wires can be a dangerous game so please proceed with caution!


Titanium is not very common, but if you do come across it, it will most likely be sporting equipment, such as bikes or golf clubs. If you’ve got any of these that can’t be sold as they are, they might be worth scrapping!


Lead is hardly ever found lying around the house in this day and age because of the health risks. However, larger batteries such as a car batteries, still contain lead.

So, start digging around at home and think twice before dumping your next lot of waste at the tip! Most metals today can be recycled over and over again and with 14% of the UK’s waste being generated by households, there’s bound to be some treasure for you in there somewhere!

To read more and if you need somewhere to scrap your metal, visit:

For more on metal sustainability, visit:

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