If you are serious about scrap brass recycling, it’s almost as easy as ABC. But being serious means being committed, dedicated and enthusiastic. Otherwise, there’s no measurable return on investment. To make it really worthwhile requires a serious investment of time AND resources AND effort. The good news is that scrap brass is actually quite abundant, and in many cases easy to find and easy to access.
The “A” of scrap brass recycling is to understand the business. In most cases, brass is recyclable and suitable for re-processing by a scrap metal dealer with the right equipment and technology. Scrap brass is just that – it’s garbage that is un-wanted and un-needed. But for the collector, it’s a potential for cold cash, and it means that obsolete appliances, old motors, and the like are all on the menu. For the serious collector, having the right tools and equipment is principal. It’s just another sign of commitment, but it also serves to make the job easier. Of course, this means having the basic hand tools (hammer, screw-drivers, wire cutters), and in addition, it means having a reliable vehicle (preferably a truck) and/or a trailer. It should also be obvious that running this kind of business will require a computer – even if only for the purpose of keeping tabs on day-to-day scrap brass prices.
The “B” of scrap brass recycling is about doing the job itself: techniques for getting the job done efficiently, while maximizing profits. Once again, it’s important to draw a distinction between a hobby and a real enterprise. Being serious means getting some impressive business cards printed and handing them out (you might even want to detail your services). “Door knocker” leaflets are an excellent way to source household scrap brass – remember, you’re a service provider, and someone requires your service, especially if hauling away the scrap is at no charge. And because scrap brass prices change daily, be informed about the fluctuations and be ready with your negotiating price at the scrap yard.
The “C” of scrap brass recycling is sourcing the scrap – in other words, where is it, how to find it, and how to collect it. Garbage dumpsters are always a good source, but should be situated in a location that lends itself to the kind of scrap that you are looking for. The local car wash is also good - it tends to be a dumping ground for all things automotive, and management would be grateful for the haulage. Household scrap should not be overlooked, even if collection is limited to doorknobs, locks and hardware – it all adds up. Apartment buildings and condominiums are worth an end-of-the-month viewing, when people are moving and trashing all kinds of valuable metal. Garbage day is usually a good day for scrap, especially in secluded neighbourhoods and private complexes. Auto repair shops, both owner-operated and chains, are an excellent source of car parts, but only if you can provide reliable service for haulage. And one of the best sources for scrap brass (and other metals) is the independent contractor, like a plumber, car mechanic, or HVAC supplier. Finally, if you see trashed “white” appliances, just grab them up – there is always value imbedded in the machinery. Just remember - one person’s trash is another’s treasure.
WHAT TYPES OF SCRAP BRASS ARE RECYCLABLE?
There are many different types of scrap brass to collect, sort, and recycle. Here are a few examples to look out for:
- Yellow Brass Scrap (Honey)
- New Brass Clippings (Label)
- Mixed Unsweated Auto Radiators (Ocean)
- Aluminium Brass Condenser Tubes (Pallu)
- Manganese Bronze Solid (Parch)
- Composition or red brass (Ebony)
- Brass small Arms and Rifle Shells, clean muffled (Lamb)
- Machinery or Hard Brass Solids (Engel)
- Admiralty Brass Condenser Tubes (Pales)
WHAT IS BRASS?
Brass is a metal alloy consisting of a combination of copper and zinc. This heavy metal commands a good price at high volumes and can be found in a vast range of products, like ammunition, fans, door handles and home products in general, due to it’s resistant to bacteria. One of its many strengths is the sheer amount of different uses for both practical and decorative applications.
By changing the copper and zinc composition, brass will have harder or softer properties, respectively. Lead, aluminum, and arsenic can be used as alloying agents to improve the corrosion resistance and machinability of brass.
Many musical instruments, commonly referred to as the brass section of an orchestra, like trombones, trumpets, horns, etc. are made of brass. Its ability to be formed easily into intricate and precise shapes makes it necessary for such fine instruments. Collectors recognize the value of brass. Often old pipes, fittings, machinery, etc. is scrapped and then sold on the local scrap yard.