It’s easy to turn your scrap materials into valuable returns. If this is your first time recycling scrap metal, here’s a quick overview of how to sell your materials and what to expect during the recycling process:

Identify The Metals In Your Scrap Materials

In the age of the internet, it’s easier than ever to check what valuable metals are hiding in your scrap materials. A simple online search of your materials should tell you what type and grade of metal you’ll find inside.

Separate And Clean Scrap Metals

You’ll always get the best price when your scrap metals are clearly separated and cleaned. Try to remove any attachments from the materials. If you have large amounts of scrap materials, we offer a variety of containers that can be used to collect and a fleet of trucks that can transport the materials.

We even have commercial-size containers that we can drop-off at your job site to easily collect the materials as you work, and we’ll come pick it up when you’re done. If you have smaller amounts of materials we can help you coordinate getting them to our Melrose Park Public Recycling Facility.

Check The Scrap Metal’s Pricing

Scrap metal buyers, like Cozzi Recycling makes it simple to check the pricing of your scrap materials. Give us a call to determine if you have metals that we accept, and we can provide you with up-to-date pricing for your scrap metals.

Find A Suitable Vehicle

If you have a truck or trailer that’s capable of hauling your scrap, you call transport the materials to our facility. If you don’t have suitable transportation, we have a fleet of trucks and trailers that we can use to come pick-up your scrap materials depending on how much materials you have and your location.

Drop-Off The Scrap Materials

Our Public Metal Recycling Center in Melrose Park has a quick and easy drive-up lane that’s perfect for residential scrap loads, and our Full-Service Scrap Metal Recycling Yard in Bellwood is outfitted to handle drop-offs of large commercial loads.

Weigh In

When you pull up and unload your vehicle at the Public Recycling Center, we’ll check the weight using our accurate and independently calibrated scales. For large commercial loads, our commercial yard in Bellwood has a larger truck scale to handle commercial vehicles and containers.

Determine Grading

At Cozzi Recycling, we utilize the latest technology in the recycling industry to ensure accurate weigh-ins and pricing. All of our recycling technicians are expertly trained in metal identification, grading, and pricing.

Register With The Recycling Facility

To combat the theft of scrap materials, local and federal laws require recycling facilities to keep detailed records of customers and materials. Depending on your scrap materials, you may need to provide a driver’s license for identification.

Get Paid

We’ll either issue a check that you can immediately take to your bank. Or if you visit our Melrose Park Public Recycling Facility, we will issue a ticket which can be redeemed for cash at our ATM on site.

Sorting scrap metal can be challenging whether you’re a first-time recycler or a seasoned scrapper. For best results, we recommend the following system:

Set Up Your Containers

It’s best to have a separate container for each type and grade of scrap metal that you have, as this makes the sorting, delivery, and grading quick and easy. Clearly label all of the containers to avoid confusion.

Don’t forget that if you need containers—especially commercial-size, heavy duty ones—we can provide you with containers at no cost to you, and we can even drop them off at your location for bulk collection.

Use A Magnet To Sort Out Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals (iron, steel) have iron and are magnetic, while non-ferrous metals (brass, copper, aluminum) aren’t magnetic. The quickest way to sort out ferrous metals is to run a magnet over your scrap materials and pull aside the items that are attracted to the magnet.

Sort The Non-Ferrous Metals

Once you’ve removed the ferrous metals from your scrap pile, you can begin sorting the non-ferrous metals. You’ll need an Analyzer to determine the exact type and grading, but our expert technicians can handle that part when you get to the recycling facility. For now, just sort the materials by look and feel.

Copper – has an iconic color, so it’s pretty easy to pick out. You’ll find it in wire, cables, and pipes. Be careful not to mistake red brass for copper if you come across that material in plumbing fixtures.

Red brass – has copper in the alloy so it’s on the same color spectrum, but it’ll be a different shade of red.

Brass – outside of red brass, the vast majority of brass is yellow.

Gold – it’s rare to come across gold in scrap materials, but you may find small amounts in electrical components and decorative design pieces.

Aluminum – this metal is often confused with steel, but the magnet test should easily separate your aluminum (non-ferrous) from steel (ferrous). Aluminum is a much lighter metal, has a matte silver color, and is usually softer/malleable.

Sort The Ferrous Metals

The most common ferrous metals that you’ll come across are going to be steel, stainless steel, iron, tin, and lead.

Steel – steel is typically a solid, strong material that’s notably heavier than the other metals. Steel that’s been subject to the elements may be rust colored.

Stainless steel – stainless steel is similarly heavy, though it’s important to note that stainless steel doesn’t rust.

Lead – lead is usually dark gray, and most commonly found in car batteries.

Tin – tin is often easier to spot by feel, as it can be bent and usually makes a crackling sound when you bend it.

Cast iron – cast iron will typically appear rusty when it’s been exposed to the elements for a while, and it will break into pieces if you drop it from a sufficient height (that’s actually one of the best cast iron tests if you’re trying to figure out what type of metal you’ve got). Cast iron can come from a variety of scrap items including castings, coil, old water piping, machinery plates, fireplace grates, sewer plates, stoves, sinks, bath tubs, gates, and some radiators.

Sort By Cleanliness

Clean metals are worth more than dirty metals that have rust, dirt, mud, and other contaminants. It’s best to remove the attachments and separate the materials as much as possible (e.g. remove rubber stripping, screws, plastic, etc.). If you have mixed materials (like aluminum gutters with steel screws), you’ll get a better price by separating them. Removing attachments doesn’t always have the greatest return for cheaper metals, but it can significantly affect the value of more expensive metals like copper.

Bring Your Containers To Cozzi Recycling

Once you have everything sorted, bring your materials to Cozzi Recycling or have Cozzi Recycling pick-up depending on the size of your load. Our expert technicians will weigh your materials and determine the type and grade using an Analyzer. If you’re unsure about materials and metals, our team can answer your questions and help you finish sorting. We ensure fair, honest, and optimum pricing, so you can trust that you’re getting top dollar for your materials.

Nonferrous scrap metals are typically worth more than ferrous scrap metals. Not only are non-ferrous materials more rare than ferrous materials, they can be recycled indefinitely because they don’t degrade or lose their chemical and physical properties during the recycling process. Out of all the ferrous scrap materials, precious metals, copper, and brass are the most valuable.

Precious Metals

Precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium have long been valued as stores of wealth. Historically, they’ve been used in coins, jewelry, and decorative arts. In modern times, you’ll also find them in telecommunications equipment, electronic components, and aerospace parts.


Considering how rare precious metals are, it’s safe to say that the most valuable scrap metal that you’ll commonly come across is copper. Copper is an essential element in plumbing and piping, and its conductive properties make it idea for electrical wires, devices, and motors. As long as you have the right splitting, stripping, or granulating equipment, you should be able to pull clean copper wiring from just about any wire or cable.


It’s easy to spot brass with its distinctive yellow hue, though you may come across red brass in piping and plumbing fixtures. Brass is commonly found in musical instruments, ammunition casings, door knobs, locks, electrical elements, pipe fittings, and plumbing fixtures. To get the best price, make sure your brass materials are clean.

When you’re sorting through scrap materials, copper usually stands out with its iconic shade of red. Some of the most valuable copper is commonly found in electrical materials, though you can also find copper in sheet roofing, cartridge cases, tubing, and bearings.


#1 Bare Bright Copper Wire is the most valuable type and grade of copper. You’ll find #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire in THHN Wire, Insulated Wire, and Romex Wire. It needs to be bare, uncoated, and unalloyed wire that’s free of attachments. All of the insulation must be removed from the wire, and it should be free of paint and solder.

If you’re working on a commercial project you may come across Elevator Wire, which is an insulated copper wire that’s used to power and run elevators. Elevator Wire has a heavy cloth insulation and steel core that need to be separated.

Piping And Tubing

This is probably the most common source of copper scrap, as copper pipes and tubes are used extensively for plumbing in residential and commercial buildings. #1 Copper Tubing is bare, uncoated, and unalloyed bus bar or pipe that’s free of attachments. #2 Copper Tubing includes burnt copper, copper with light tin coating, solder, or brass fittings still attached.


Copper is commonly used in home décor and roofing, especially in solar panels, gutters, tiles, and roofing materials. Some of the types and grades of copper that you’ll find in roofing materials include #1 Flashing Copper, #2 Roofing Copper, #3 Roofing Copper (clean), and #3 Copper with Tar.

Machine Turnings

Machine shops that work with copper often have Copper Turnings. For optimum pricing, Copper Turnings should be free of oil, aluminum, and steel.


You’ll find copper Ballasts inside lighting fixtures.


Copper Transformers typically have a steel core surrounded by copper windings. In some transformers, there may be an outer casing around the copper.

Copper Yokes

Copper Yokes are often found on the back of television sets. They’ll typically have a plastic cone around the copper wire.

Copper Electric Motors

Look for whole motors that don’t have any steel attachments, loose iron, bases, or pumps.