Scrap metal prices have dropped significantly over the past few years, causing many people to question the importance of recycling these materials. Unfortunately, some have even stopped recycling their scrap metal entirely.
When you look at the facts behind scrap metal recycling, however, you’ll see that it is still worth the small effort…no matter what the current price!
Recycling: A Mandatory Activity in Vermont
While scrap metal recycling is a smart decision for anyone who wants to make some money and help the environment, in Vermont it’s actually a legally-mandated requirement. In 2012, the Vermont state government passed a recycling and composting law called Act 148. This act, which seeks to reduce waste and eliminate the pressure on landfills, made it illegal to throw out “mandatory recyclables,” which includes paper, rigid plastic, corrugated cardboard, and (you guessed it) numerous metals.
Household metals that are mandatory recyclables include aluminum and steel cans, aluminum foil, and aluminum pie plates. Act 148 is making the recycling process simple for homeowners by requiring trash haulers to offer residential recycling collection at no additional charge. The haulers must offer this service by 2017.
Vermont laws concerning waste address construction and demolition materials as well. To take the pressure off of our landfills, many construction materials are banned from landfills, including plywood, asphalt shingles, and (you guessed it again!) scrap metal.
According to the Chittenden Solid Waste District, “scrap metals” can include both construction materials and in-home items, such as:
- Bikes and workout equipment
- Lawn furniture
- Desks and filing cabinets
- Nails, bolts, and nuts
- Metal siding and roofing
Attempting to throw away banned items such as scrap metal can lead to a $500 fine for each incident, so from a financial standpoint, scrap metal recycling is certainly worth the effort!
But scrap metal recycling is more than a legal mandate; it’s a responsible practice that should be done regardless of local, state, and federal laws…
The Environmental Benefits of Recycling
Outside of legal mandates, there are really two important reasons to participate in scrap metal recycling:
- Earn money
- Help the environment
The financial aspect is a strong reason, but as Vermont residents have seen, this can change dramatically over time. The second reason, however, never changes. No matter what the current scrap metal prices, no matter what the laws say, scrap metal recycling is beneficial for numerous environmental and conservational reasons.
First of all, by recycling your scrap metal, you are conserving valuable landfill space. One of the major reasons for passing Act 148 in Vermont was the ever-decreasing capacity of our landfills. As the landfills edged closer to overflowing, it became apparent that change was needed. Either that, or more land would be needed for landfills, and nobody prefers that undesirable solution.
Another major goal of recycling is reducing raw material usage. Through recycling, we can help reduce the need to harvest new materials, which contributes to conservation of our limited resources.
Understanding Scrap Metal Prices
As anyone in the scrap metal recycling business can tell you, scrap metal prices will fluctuate dramatically in a very short period of time. A few years ago, it was not uncommon to have prices at roughly $150 for a ton of scrap metal. However, as the market has changed, prices dropped to below $25 a ton. Imagine if a $150,000 home dropped in value to $25,000; that would lead to significant market problems!
So what is behind this massive drop? While most scrap metal recycling and purchasing is done at the local level, factors in foreign countries, especially the economic powerhouse of China, will lead to massive shifts in domestic scrap metal prices.
When scrap metal recycling was at its peak, it was largely because of the rapid economic growth of the Chinese. When the Chinese were growing their economy at historic levels, they were purchasing the lion’s share of raw materials, including scrap metal. As that growth slowed, the Chinese demand for scrap metal decreased, leaving prices to drop significantly.
China is certainly a big player in scrap metal prices, but there are other factors that change pricing, including quantity of materials, seasonal changes, and competition from other sellers. Also, for countries like Turkey that need to import scrap metal, the strength of the American dollar makes other countries’ scrap a better deal.
No matter what the current price, however, there is money to be made by selling your scrap metal. Even when scrap prices are down, you’re essentially taking unused material and turning it into cash. Depending on the type and the amount of material, you can put a little bit of extra cash in your pocket through metal recycling.
Let us Help with Your Scrap Metal Recycling
Contact us today and let us turn your unused metal into cash. You can get rid of your junk and put money in your wallet, and we are ready to make it happen now!