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Essential Things to Know About Recycling Stainless Steel Metals

Essential Things to Know About Recycling Stainless Steel Metals

Stainless steel is definitely a metal type you want to include in that heap of scrap metal you are planning on selling to a scrap metal company. Recycling this metal is very good for the environment and, compared to iron, stainless steel has a very good trade value. 

If you are serious about collecting and selling stainless steel as a scrap metal then it is best to learn as much about this important metal as possible. In this guide, we are going to take a closer look at all of the most important things you should know about recycling stainless steel.

What Is Stainless Steel?

Unlike many other metals used in scrap metal recycling, stainless steel isn’t a pure metal type. This metal is an alloy of iron. Other metal types are included in this metal to give it its resistance to rust. Stainless steel contains a minimum of 11% chromium as well as other elements like carbon. The metal’s ability to withstand rusting comes from the chromium ingredient. This chromium component forms a film over the metal that protects it from oxygen. This is exactly why you can leave stainless steel untreated without risk of corrosion.

Since stainless steel is made from a combination of different materials and products it can be produced differently. Different stainless steel metals can have different standards or grading. A lower quality stainless steel consist of less chromium and might be more vulnerable to rust compared to stainless steel with higher chromium levels. 

Quality stainless steel can have a much higher market value compared to low-grade stainless steel but all of these materials can be recycled. 

How to Identify Stainless Steel

It is pretty easy to identify stainless steel from other types of metal. Here is a quick look at the best and most common tests for this metal if you want to properly identify it.

Identification by Colour

The easiest way to identify stainless steel from other metal types is by its physical appearance. Stainless steel has a bright white surface after it is pickled. Chrome-nickel stainless steel can appear silver white or jade coloured. Chrome stainless steel tends to be greyish or glossy. Chrome manganese nitrogen stainless steel is very light compared to the other two types.

If the metal isn’t pickled, it will have a brownish white hue if it is chrome-nickel stainless steel. Chrome stainless steel has a brown-black hue while chrome-manganese nitrogen stainless is black. 

Identification by Magnet

A magnet can be used to distinguish between different types of stainless steel. Chrome stainless steel is attracted by magnets while chromium-nickel stainless is usually non-magnetic. This can however vary based on the composition of the stainless steel. 

Identification with Copper Sulphate

To use this method, you will need to remove the oxide layer on the steel. Add a droplet of water and rub copper sulfate onto the drop. If the colour stays the same it is stainless steel. If the surface turns purple, the metal is non-magnetic steel or ordinary low alloy steel. 

Where to Find Stainless Steel

Stainless steel can be found all around. This durable metal is used for a huge variety of applications. If you want to add to your stainless steel pile, you should start collecting items like tableware, cutlery, cookware, kitchen sinks, and old kitchen appliances like microwaves or toasters. Some garden equipment is also made from stainless steel. This metal is also often used in building structures and furniture. 

Now that you know where to find and how to identify stainless steel you can start collecting. And remember to give Danny Scrap Metal a call when you have a big pile of stainless steel ready for collection. 

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