There are many types of recyclable metal. Fortunately, there are also many ways to identify and separate metal.

A magnet can be used to separate ferrous metals, like iron and steel, from non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, copper and brass. Simply put, if the magnet sticks to the metal, then it contains iron.

A metal file is especially useful for materials which are painted, coated or plated. By filing a small section on the surface of the scrap, you should be able to see the base metal. Every type of metal has its own unique physical characteristics – such as color, hardness and weight.

If you have a metal grinder and a large enough piece of scrap, you can also use a spark test to aid in metal identification. You can identify different types of metal by looking at the presence, color and type of stream of sparks generated when grinding the metal. Generally speaking, no sparks indicate that the metal is non-ferrous.

If you are unsure of what type of scrap metal you have, the associates at Brenner Recycling are trained and happy to help. It's best to bring your item in, since identifying it over the phone can sure be tricky!