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How to Get Rid of Scrap Metal

From old metal racking to steel framing, here's what to do with your scraps and debris.

A pile of scrap metal.

Your Guide to Bulk Scrap Metal Disposal

The United States sends over 10 million tons of scrap metal to landfills each year — and that’s just steel. However, many project managers are now looking for sustainable practices and require construction companies to divert waste.

Finding where to recycle scrap metal can be a difficult process. There are options, but they generally take time and effort to coordinate and are only available in certain cities. In our comprehensive guide to removing scrap metal, we connect you with quick, efficient and sustainable options for jobsite waste removal.

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What Kind of Metal Do I Have?

Recycling or disposing of scrap metal often requires using single-stream dumpsters to sort trash onsite as opposed to relying on recycling centers to do it. However, some facilities may only take certain types of scrap metal.

Recycling ferrous metals requires melting them down and removing impurities from the pieces of scrap. Non-ferrous metals are more widely accepted because they can be recycled time and time again without special processing.

Ferrous Metals

Any metal that contains iron is considered ferrous. These metals are strong and durable, which makes them perfect for load-bearing. They are also magnetic. Some common examples of ferrous metals include:

  • Cast iron
  • Alloy steel
  • Carbon steel
  • Wrought iron


5 Ways to Dispose of Scrap Metal

Scrap metal in a pile.

1. Sell

Selling scrap metal is a great way to save or even make money on a job while meeting your project sustainability goals. Keep in mind that the type of metal — ferrous vs. non-ferrous — may impact your ability to sell scraps as well as the quality and quantity of the metal itself. Many buyers will only take certain types and amounts of metals based on market value.

Scrap metal resource Scrap Monster maintains a database of more than 13,000 scrap yards and metal recycling centers across the United States. They even track and report the current market value of metals in their various forms. Use the database to find a facility and buyer near you.

A red dumpster filled with used metal wiring, containers, grates and rods.
Brain icon.

Pro Tip

A lot of projects award bonuses for being under budget. Getting rebates on scrap metal is a great way to make back some of those initial costs while hitting any sustainability goals.

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3. Recycle

According to IBIS World, there are over 700 scrap metal recycling businesses in the U.S. With more and more companies pushing for sustainable waste management practices, relying on these facilities has become more critical than ever.

Regional access to scrap metal recycling may prove difficult. Depending on the area, there may not be any services available. However, waste management companies have the connections necessary to find the right solutions to achieve your green initiatives.

A pile of used metal bars.
Brain icon.

Pro Tip

Laws regarding scrap metal recycling can vary by location. Check out this OSHA guide to compliance to learn more about regulations in your state.

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Blue Dumpsters.com dumpster filled with scrap metal being loaded on a truck.

4. Dumpster Rental

The easiest way to dispose of scrap metal debris is to rent a roll off dumpster. Waste removal partners will sometimes reach out to local recycling facilities for you and provide separate, single-stream bins to separate your waste on-site.

Warehouses, retail stores, and large solar fields fitted with metal racking would benefit from the flexibility of a dumpster rental from a nationwide waste management partner. LEED Green Associates like Dumpsters.com’s Trevor Ditch and Robert Di Pasquale can also leverage sustainable solutions for projects with green initiatives.

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Shopping after hours? Too busy to make another call? Book the dumpster you need, when you need it. Order your dumpster online 24/7.

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What Is Briquetting?

Briquetting is a process of compressing scrap metal shards, pieces, sludges and dust into small bricks called briquettes. The market for briquetting is estimated to grow between 6% and 8% by 2031. Construction and demolition companies with large amounts of metal shavings and scraps can use briquetting to melt down and reuse the metal or then sell it to scrapyards for current market value.

The biggest disadvantage of briquetting is the machines used to create the briquettes carry high initial and ongoing maintenance costs. That said, briquetting small amounts of metal may not be worth the investment. Use this method for high volumes of metal scraps.

Tossing More Than Metal?

Choose a construction material for detailed disposal options.

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Scrap Metal Disposal FAQs

Is scrap metal hazardous waste?

What metal items cannot be recycled?

Can I sell scrap metal?

Additional Disposal Resources

Looking for additional tips? Learn more about trash disposal with these blog posts and articles: