What Metals Do Scrap Yards Take?

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Scrap yards will accept any type of metal that it can resell for a profit. The most common metals resold are steel and aluminium. Iron, tin, copper, brass and nickel are less common due to the smaller amount of these materials in circulation.

Check with your local scrap yard for current pricing

Separting your metals

Scrap yards accept most metals in different forms. Yard operators generally instruct their customers on how to sort upon entering the yard. The vehicle is weighed and the customer is responsible for unloading and sorting the metals. If more than one metal is being sold to the scrap yard, the vehicle is weighed again. Each scrap yard has its own policy regarding the sorting of recyclable metals. Some accept entire cars, for example, while others have piles consisting only of aluminium cans.

Common Recycled Metals

Steel and aluminium are the most common metals scrap yards purchase and resell. The process of recycling these two metals is much cheaper than mining and processing newly found raw metal. More steel is recycled than any other metal. It generally finds its way into scrap yards in the form of old cars, cans and construction debris. Aluminium mainly arrives at the scrap yard in the form of beverage containers, construction debris and leftover building materials.

Less Common Metals

Copper, nickel, iron, tin and brass are also accepted at many scrap yards. Customers often get higher prices for these metals because the amount of these metals in circulation is far lower than steel and aluminium. Lead can also be sold to scrap yards. Precious metals such as gold and silver tend to be purchased and resold through jewellery companies. However, it is best to call ahead to your local scrap yard for more information.


Scrap yards pay their customers for used metal based on per-ton rates. These rates are tied to the fluctuating market prices for recycled metal. Scrap yards often compete in this marketplace by offering better pricing. Customers are compensated by the scrap yard cashier after their vehicle has been weighed before and after unloading their metals. Cash is the preferred payment method for most scrap yards.