Common metals around the home

Common metals around the home

Identifying the types of metal in your household plumbing is relatively simple once you understand the basics. Depending on the age of the property the plumbing systems will have metal or plastic pipes, although it is not uncommon to find both. Traditionally all hot water pipes were metal but plastic pipes are now widely used due to their flexibility and relative ease of installation.

Copper pipe

The most common type of metal pipe in residential properties is copper pipe. It can be used for both supplying hot and cold water and to connect the heating system. Copper pipes are available with 15mm and 22mm diameters. Copper piping is relatively flexible and can generally be readily identified by is reddish brown colouring.

Chrome-plated copper pipe

Chrome plated copper pipes are also widely used in residential available with 15mm and 22mm diameters. Chrome Plated Copper Tube is predominantly used in such areas as kitchens or bath / shower rooms where there is a greater risk or corrosion due the environment and also the desire for an aesthetic finish.

Galvanized pipe

Galvanized pipe is usually coated with a layer of zinc. The zinc protects against corrosion and this protective barrier proves equally effective against damage from moisture indoors and outdoors. Up to the later 1970’s-1980’s galvanized steel was utilized for water supply pipes in construction. Galvanized piping was phased out because the zinc barrier tended to react with minerals in the water which created build-up in the pipe and in some cases led to restricted water flow and/or burst pipes.

You can also find galvanized pipe used extensively in fences (posts), railings, scaffolding, washing lines (the old Hill’s hoist) and garden furniture such as old trampolines etc.

Although generally quite durable, when damaged galvanized piping can become susceptible to rust. You should regularly check any piping for damage to ensure that the strength of the item is not compromised. Of course if there is an issue and you need to replace or remove the piping Southern Cross Metal Recyclers can assist you with a quick and easy collection service.

Stainless steel piping

Stainless steel piping is a rigid pipe that is highly resistive to corrosion and is usually has a mirrored silver appearance. This type of pipe is usually used in premium applications such as visible piping and fittings. It is also extensively used in highly corrosive environments.


Brass is a man made alloy of copper and zinc mixed together. Copper and brass are two very similar looking metals and both are extensively used in household piping and plumbing. To differentiate between brass and copper pipes. One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between copper and brass is to look at the color. 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.

Bronze Piping

Bronze piping is relatively rare around the home. It was widely used in boat and ship fittings prior to the adoption of stainless steel owing to its combination of toughness and resistance to salt water corrosion. Bronze is still commonly used in ship propellers and submerged bearings. You will tend to find bronze in older weather proofing applications, decorative fixtures, bowls and sculptures.

Lead Piping

Fortunately Lead pipe plumbing is not widespread in Australian homes and little is heard about drinking water as a source of lead poisoning – unlike Europe and the US. The late Lead Reference Centre (a section of NSW Environment Protection Authority devoted to lead policy and education from 1997-9) has not even devoted a fact sheet to the subject. Nevertheless, it may be an issue worth investigating if your home was built prior to the 1930’s, when copper pipes replaced lead pipes. Lead is usually dull grey or silvery in colour, is relatively easy to bend, and can be scratched and scraped easily. A good way to identify lead piping is to scratch the surface with a coin or similar object.  Lead piping that has been scraped or scratched will appear shiny or silver.

Posted in metal, scrap

Why your fridge is a potential environmental time bomb

Fridges are one of the most useful electrical appliances we have around our home. Few people could live without them but did you know your fridge is potentially a mini environmental time bomb?

Prior to 1994 fridges contained a gas, known as CFC, to cool the inside and keep vegetables crisp
and meats frozen. CFCs are harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer and are referred to as an Ozone
Depleting Substance (ODS). Whilst under normal conditions there is little risk that the potential
CFCs in your fridge are doing any harm, damaged or punctured fridges can allow these gases to be
released into the environment and the process of Ozone destruction begins. The team at ‘The Ozone
Hole’ have some great information on how CFCs contribute to this environmental issue;

At Scrap Metal Yard we feel that we all have a responsibility to ensure that the gases in old fridges
do as little damage to the environment as possible. That is why we take so much care when recycling
the fridges we receive at Williamstown recycling centre. For each fridge we carefully collect the
refrigerant gases and oil under vacuum and ensure all the ODS is extracted. These gases are then
liquefied and sent off for specialist destruction by using high temperature incineration.

To make sure your old fridge does not end up doing any harm to the environment, call us and let us
conveniently remove your fridge and responsibly dispose of any gases contained within.

Posted in whitegoods recycling

Cash from scrap lying around your home

Now and then we all end up with some unwanted scrap in the backyard or around the house.
Whether it’s an old or broken down washing machine, fridge, hot water system or leftovers from a
home renovation, scrap is something every household has to deal with. But did you know that old
scrap can actually be turned into cash?

Metal is a wonderful natural resource that can be recycled over and over again to create new
products and avoid unnecessary landfill. In fact, recycling metal can often be much more efficient
that mining and best of all, recycling metal can actually contribute to the household finances.

Some common metals that you can recycle around your home include cans. These are particularly
good as 100% of the steel and aluminium can be recycled into new products. In fact over two thirds
of the aluminium mined since the late 1800’s is still in use today.

Old appliances such as washing machines and fridges can contain over 60% steel and generally must
be disposed of in accordance with strict guidelines. At Scrap Metal Yard we take this responsibility
seriously and ensure appliances are safely de-gassed so that no harmful greenhouse gases are
released into the environment.

Construction materials and old plumbing are a rich source for recyclable metals. Steel framing,
aluminium window frames, copper and steel piping, metal roofs and gutters are all great examples
of metals that can be recycled when you’re renovating or building a new home.

So how do you turn your scrap into cash? Call us on 1300 SCRAAP or 1300 727 227 and we will make
sure your metal is disposed of efficiently and responsibly. Remember, we recycle metal from all over
the greater Melbourne area we offer great prices for your metal and can arrange pick-up of your scrap if required.

Posted in cash, melbourne, scrap, whitegoods recycling

Five step process to identify your scrap metal

  1. The easiest way to see if an item can be recycled is generally by a quick inspection. If the item looks like metal, is heavy and has the characteristic tone of metal when tapped (think of the sound a bell makes) then you most likely have a metal item that can be recycled. If so, jump straight to the fourth item to see how you can recycle your item efficiently and responsibly with Southern Cross Metal Recyclers.
  2. If you’re still unsure, or would like to know exactly what type of metal you have, there are two other tests you can perform; The Colour test. Generally, items that are reddish brown are copper – common copper items include household plumbing. White items can be any one of lead, aluminium, zinc or magnesium – there are a broad range of items that are made of these metals, such as old household window frames, certain household appliances etc. Finally, items that are silvery white tend to be galvanised iron – old unpainted metal roofs are good examples of this metal.
  3. The Chip Test. If you are still unsure, you can usually chip away a small piece of the metal and inspect it in more detail. Cast iron chips relatively easily and is small and brittle. Aluminium and copper tends to chip as continuous jagged pieces. Lead chips can be of any shape and are usually soft enough to be cut with a knife. For a more detailed description refer to this great resource to find out how to identify more metals;
  4. Once you have identified your metal you can check how much it is worth by using our handy pricing calculator.
  5. Drop off your metal at our Williamstown location or call our friendly staff on 1300 SCRAAP or 1300 727 227 and we will make sure that your metal is disposed efficiently and responsibly. Remember we recycle metal from all over the greater Melbourne area and can arrange pick-up of your scrap if required.
Posted in melbourne, metal, scrap