Cash In and Clean Up: Recycling Your Old Plumbing Brass

During a home renovation or plumbing repair, you might end up with a pile of old faucets, valves, and pipes. Don’t just toss them in the trash! Plumbing brass is a valuable recyclable material that can be turned into new products. In this article, we’ll cover the benefits of recycling plumbing brass, what qualifies as plumbing brass, and how to prepare it for recycling.

Why Recycle Plumbing Brass?

There are several reasons to recycle plumbing brass instead of throwing it away:

  • Environmental benefits: Extracting and processing virgin metals uses a lot of energy and resources. Recycling brass reduces this environmental impact.
  • Conservation of resources: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, both of which are finite resources. Recycling helps conserve these resources for future generations.
  • Cash value: Scrap brass has value, and you can earn some money by recycling it at a scrap yard.

What is Plumbing Brass?

Most plumbing fixtures and valves are made of brass. Here are some common examples:

  • Faucets
  • Valves
  • Pipes (especially older ones)
  • Showerheads
  • Door handles (sometimes)

Brass has a distinctive yellowish tint, but it can also appear slightly reddish depending on the copper content. It’s relatively heavy and dense for its size. If you’re unsure whether something is brass, a magnet test can be helpful – brass is non-magnetic, while steel is magnetic.

Preparing Your Plumbing Brass for Recycling

Here’s how to get your old plumbing brass ready for the scrap yard:

  • Separate the brass from other materials: Remove any plastic, rubber, or other non-brass components from the parts. Scrap yards typically pay a lower price for mixed materials.
  • Clean the brass (optional): While not strictly necessary, clean brass may fetch a slightly higher price. You can remove dirt and grime with soap and water or a wire brush.
  • Sort the brass by type (optional): Some scrap yards may offer a higher price for certain types of brass, such as heavy pipes or solid brass fixtures.

Finding a Scrap Yard

With your plumbing brass prepped, you can search online or in your local phone directory for scrap yards that accept brass. Call ahead to inquire about current prices and any specific requirements they may have.

By recycling your old plumbing brass, you’re doing your part for the environment, conserving resources, and potentially earning some extra cash. It’s a win-win situation!