Your household plumbing can be a recyclable goldmine of metals. After you understand the basics of each metal, it’s easy to identify them and even easier to take them to your local metal recycler and get some cash in return.
Scrap metal composes 17.5% of litter collected across Australia, according to Clean Up Australia. This waste has a severe impact on the environment from its initial production process to the transportation stage.
However, fear not! The positive thing about metals is that they are completely recyclable, which means they be recycled again and again without reducing the quality of the end product. So if you’re doing some renovations around your home keep an eye out for these metals and be sure to recycle them.
It’ll be no surprise if you find copper pipe supplying your hot and cold water as well as connected to your heating system. To this day copper remains to be one of the world’s most recycled metals.
Copper is eye-catching and instantly identifiable thanks to its golden-orange sheen but what makes recycling copper even more appealing is that due to its extremely high levels of corrosion-resistance the price for recycled copper is nearly as high as raw copper ore. Copper pipes are available with a 15mm or 22mm diameter, so if you are in the lucky position to have a substantial amount of it in your possession, be sure to recycle it!
Galvanized pipe is the old fashioned steel you that you’ll usually find in fences, railings, scaffolding, washing lines (the old Hill’s hoist type) and old trampolines. Although up until the 1970’s it as utilised for water supply pipes in construction. Galvanized piping was phased out because the zinc barrier tended to react with minals in the water which created a build-up in the pipe and in some cases even led to restricted water flow and burst pipes.
It is usually made resistant with a coating of zinc. The zinc protects against corrosion and this protective barrier proves equally effective against damage from moisture indoors and outdoors.
Although generally quite durable, when damaged galvanized piping can become susceptible to rust. Whether the steel is rusted or not, it is still suitable for recycling.
Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, which together make a man-made alloy. It is used a lot of products many you’ll find around the home including locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs and valves, as well as in a range of plumbing and electrical applications.
At first glance you may think you’ve found copper, because they look almost identical. One of the easiest ways to differentiate between brass and copper pipes is to look at the colour. The two may seem very similar, however if you have an item that you know is made out of copper then compare the color and decide whether it’s brass or copper. Copper has a red tinge to it and will turn green when it starts to corrode.
This one is quite rarely found around the home.
Initially it was widely used in boat and ship fittings prior to the adoption of stainless steel because of its combination of toughness and resistance to saltwater corrosion. Bronze is still commonly used in ship propellers and submerged bearings. When it comes to finding this one around the home, you will tend to find bronze in older weatherproofing applications, decorative fixtures, bowls and sculptures.
Chrome-Plated Copper Pipe
Chrome plated copper tube is mostly used in areas like the kitchen or bathroom, where the risk of corrosion is high or there is a desire for an aesthetic finish. They are also widely used in residential available with 15mm and 22mm diameters, so definitely something to keep your eye out for when renovating!
Depending on the age of your property and its plumbing system, you are bound to find a variety of metal pipes that can be recycled.