Recycled Metals Value: Monetary Value and Environmental Value of Recycling Metals

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Introduction to Learning about the Value of Recycled Metals

All metals have several recycling values, from value to the environment through less pollution, and value to the person selling the metal to the recycling company.

Some metals are more valuable than others with numerous metal recycling companies offering cash payments at the time of collection.

This is an article learning about the value of recycled metals, where we will examine the various prices that metals for recycling are bought for, along with the values that recycling metals bring to the environment.

We begin by having a look at the current prices expected from selling different metals to a recycling company.

Recycling Metals – Monetary Values

The prices quoted below are per pound weight.

Common metals in everyday use:

  • Aluminum cans………$0.40
  • Alloy wheels…………..$0.50
  • Steel …………………….$0.00
  • Brass…………………….$1.30
  • Copper (cable)………$2.00 (covering removed)
  • Copper (motors)…….$0.15
  • Copper (car rods)…..$1.10
  • Lead (battery)………..$6.00 (Each)
  • Lead (soft)…………….$0.20
  • Stainless steel……….$0.40

Noble metals

  • Gold (Jewelry-9 karat)………$13/gram
  • Gold (jewelry-22 karat)……..$33/gram
  • Silver (jewelry/cutlery/cast)..$0.54/gram
  • Platinum…………………………..$44/gram
  • Catalytic Converters………….$5 to $50 each

(Catalytic converters use Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium – see my article on (What Happens to Catalytic Converters)

Common Items Made from Recyclable Metals

  • Aluminum

Mainly drink cans, but also found in alloy auto wheels.

  • Brass

Fireside tools such as pokers, tongs and shovels, also cast brass ornaments, door handles, letterboxes and locks.

  • Copper

Examples are, electric cable, plumbing pipes, valves and hot tanks, car radiators, motors and generators.

  • Silver

Examples include, jewelery and cutlery, cast items such as hip flasks, drinking goblets and ornaments.

  • Platinum

Examples are, catalytic converters (auto exhaust system), some electrical contacts and jewelry.

Selling old or damaged jewelery is not strictly recycling; but the majority of it will be melted down to produce new jewelery or some other applications.

We need to know what we are selling, so I have added a listing below to explain the stamps and identifiers of gold, silver and platinum.

Stamps used to identifying gold karats

  • 0.3% = 8 karat
  • 0.417% = 10 karat
  • 0.585% = 14 karat
  • 0.917% = 22 karat

Stamps used to Identify Platinum content

  • Plat 950, Plat, 950 and Platinum

Stamps used to Identify Silver

  • Sterling silver
  • Silver plated
  • Rogers silver
  • 900,915 and 800

Environmental Values to be Gained Through Metal Recycling

Any form of recycling is beneficial to the environment; the values from metal recycling are as follows:

  • Saving in Energy

There are great savings in energy when recycling metals as opposed to processing from ore. This is especially so for aluminum, which uses huge amounts of electrical power.

  • Air, Water and Land Pollution

These valuable attributes are saved from recycling metals. Emissions to the atmosphere are severely curtailed and land and water suffer less pollution due to reduced ore requirement and processing.

  • Saving in Land Usage

Much of ore is mined by open-pit methods, which entails the removal of numerous layers of soil to expose the ore for extraction. Recycling metals reduces the amount of ore required thereby saving land excavation.

  • Landfill

There are valuable savings to be made at the various landfill sites where most metals ended up before metal recycling processes were established.


Here we learned the value of recycled metals by examining payment for grading and weighing of the metals.

The most valuable metals are the noble metals of platinum and gold, which can be identified by their stamps, with platinum being now being more valuable than gold.

Catalytic converters, part of the auto exhaust system can be sold for up to $50 as they contain Platinum.

The recycling of metals also adds value to the environment, because recycling metals reduces energy and land requirements, while creating less pollution in the atmosphere, land, and water.

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