Metal Recycling

Learn how to manage scrap metal for recycling and determine when it becomes hazardous waste.

Scrap metal generated on campus must be recycled or removed as hazardous waste.  Proper disposal and handling of scrap metal requires proper housekeeping procedures, including the use of correct storage and waste bins.  All personnel responsible for these procedures must be trained at their specific site. 

Direct Metal Recycle Bins

All waste that has significant metal shavings on it (e.g., plastic, paper, latex gloves) must be separated from these bins, placed in sealed containers, and labeled as “Hazardous Waste” to be picked up by EH&S using WASTe.

Direct metal recycle bins should only be filled with metal and no other materials, even if the materials have metal shavings on them.

Is Scrap Metal Recyclable or Hazardous Waste?

  • All scrap metal from any source, if not recycled, is considered hazardous waste. 
  • Metal shavings 100 microns or larger can be managed as scrap metal for recycling. 
  • Metal sludge, semi-solids and dusts/grindings (< 100 microns) are to be treated as hazardous waste and must be placed in sealed containers and correctly labeled. 

Proper Housekeeping

Simple procedures such as cleaning, dusting, and organizing are essential for maintaining safe work practices and increasing productivity. Some tips for proper housekeeping include: 

  • Keeping one’s workspace and machinery clean.
  • Reporting leaks, spills, or faulty equipment.
  • Preventing dust inhalation by using proper equipment and controls when dealing with dust.

Scrap metal is defined in section 261.1 (c)(6) of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR) as: bits and pieces of metal parts (e.g., bars, turnings, rods, sheets, wire) or metal pieces that may be combined together with bolts or soldering (e.g., radiators, scrap automobiles, railroad box cars), which when worn or superfluous can be recycled.