Here’s how E.J. Harrison and Sons and Gold Coast Recycling work to recover recyclables.
If you look at the contents of your curbside recycling cart, you might get the wrong idea about which material is most commonly recycled.
Even though it is not accepted in curbside recycling carts, scrap steel beats glass, aluminum, plastic or paper by tons. Scrap copper and brass beat almost any other material type by recycling percentage.
The two biggest reasons for great rates of metal recycling are density and price: You can move a lot of metal in a relatively small space, and the value is sufficient to motivate action.
However, scrap metal recycling is not allowed in curbside carts or standard commercial recycling bins unless a sign on the bin specifies it can accept scrap metal. That’s because metal can damage automated sorting equipment.
Sorting centers easily handle metal cans and food containers, but scrap metal pieces are different. Magnets and manual sorters remove most non-magnetic, sharp or other pieces likely to cause damage, but sometimes a piece of metal is hidden by other materials or gets past the initial sorters.
At the Gold Coast Recycling and Transfer Station in Ventura, scrap metal can wedge into a screen made of discs in the second step of the sorting process.
At the Del Norte Regional Recycling and Transfer Station in Oxnard, even if it rolls past an automated, star-shaped screening system after the initial manual sorting station, a big piece of metal can damage a rubber walking floor in the third step of sorting process, when it falls from a higher conveyor. Small pieces of scrap metal can also cause a different problem; they can get caught in conveyors, according to Grant Dunn, a management analyst with the city of Oxnard.
Both Gold Coast and Del Norte, as well as the third major sorting center in Ventura County, the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center, charge the same to receive loads of separated metal as they do for garbage. However, you can get paid for metal if you bring it to a scrap metal recycling center.
The biggest scrap metal recycling centers in Ventura County are Standard Industries in Saticoy; SA Recycling, with two locations in Oxnard; and Camarillo Recycling. Some east county residents and others use scrap metal recycling centers in the San Fernando Valley, such as Raymer Metals in Van Nuys. If you search the internet for “scrap metal recyclers,” call before driving; many do not take all grades of metal, and some recycle only precious metals such as gold, platinum and palladium.
Prices change daily and vary by grade within category, but typical current prices are $1.60 per pound for copper, 60 cents per pound for brass and $30 per ton, which is a little over a cent per pound, for regular steel.
Some metals have many subgrades, so expect 5 to 25 cents per pound for stainless steel and 20 to 47 cents per pound for unpainted aluminum. Prices are likely to rise this year; the government of China, a market for scrap material, recently announced the relaxation of import restrictions on recycled metals not containing iron.
What to expect if you recycle scrap metal
Nathan Summerville, of Ventura, described his experience recycling scrap metal. After replacing a broken oven fan, he had to get rid of a large oven hood. Combining that piece of metal with cans, bottles and a leftover copper pipe he had been unable to sell on OfferUp, he went to Standard Industries.
After waiting in line less than five minutes, he parked and hand-carried his items to a scale, bypassing workers helping others load materials onto carts they wheeled to the scale. A worker weighed items by category and provided a receipt. From behind bulletproof glass, the office staff collected Summerville’s fingerprint, driver’s license number, and car license number — information required by the state to deter theft of scrap metal. A cashier then exchanged Summerville’s receipt for $19.75. Of that payment, around $9 was for the copper pipe, and just 16 cents was for the 6-pound tin oven hood.
Support local journalism: Learn how you can make a difference in Ventura County and the world. Get unlimited access to coverage like this with a digital subscription to The Star.
Arranging pickup from your home is another option. You can arrange for a special curbside pickup by the company providing your regular trash collection service. Most communities allow at least one free bulky item pick up per year, and trash collection companies charge for such pickups only after annual allocations are used.
Pickup by collection companies other than your exclusive hauler are legal, provided they come onto your property to pick up and bring items to their truck, and they do not charge to collect from a bin or cart. Search “scrap metal pickup” in your phone book.
A final option is to bring your metal to a community cleanup day. Under the same contract allowing them the exclusive right to collect household garbage, most Ventura County refuse haulers are obligated to provide free collection service at a designated drop-off site at least once per year, almost always with separate bins for trash, metal and yard clippings with lumber. However, these events are rare, usually available only once per year to most communities, and are not offered in all Ventura County areas. Ventura recently held an event, collecting 7,560 pounds of scrap metal separately from other materials.
Alternatively, the three cities near the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center — Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, and Simi Valley – have free drop-off days at the landfill, with separate bins for metal recycling.
Eco-Tip is written by David Goldstein, an environmental resource analyst for the Ventura County Public Works Agency. He can be reached at 658-4312 or email@example.com.
Read or Share this story: https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/local/2020/02/01/eco-tip-scrap-metal-widely-recycled-but-not-curbside/4634304002/