Should You Separate Chrome & Yellow Brass?

Scrappers on our Facebook Group recently discussed how they should separate their Brass Scrap and how their scrap yard accepts various kinds of brass. This led to a wide variety of responses because many scrap yards differ on how they buy materials and grade brass. One complaint that was repeated during the discussion was that scrappers wished scrap yards were all consistent and stuck to a standard of buying. Because this is like asking pigs to fly, we decided to explore the different options.

What Is Chrome Brass?

Chrome-plated brass is a metal that is subjected to electroplating, a process where a metal finish is applied to another metal surface. In the case of chrome-plated brass, a layer of chromium or chrome is electroplated onto the brass, combining the inherent strength and durability of brass with the visually appealing finish of chrome plating. Another great example of an electroplated metal is silver-plated copper.

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Chrome Brass is often found on your bathroom or kitchen sink. Your faucet will have a silver plate on the outside, but the faucet itself is brass. Chrome brass is used for aesthetics and the shiny look it has. Also, the chrome acts as a barrier for protection from rust or corrosion.

Don’t mistake the die-cast that is coated in chrome for chrome brass; you have to scratch it with a magnet to see if it is yellow underneath and know it is brass. 

What Is Yellow Brass?

Yellow brass is one of the most common scrap metals you will come across. It is typically found in plumbing fixtures for the corners of pipes, fixtures leading up to sinks, toilets, and more. Also, Yellow Brass can be found in some home items or light fixtures like chandeliers and bed frames.

yellow brass - scrap metal prices

Why Scrap Yards Would Separate Them

When scrap yards are processing and buying material, it always pays to separate. Generally, scrap yards that are sold to a larger supplier-type yard will make more money when separating different grades of materials like yellow and chrome brass because it’s easier to process. Sometimes, scrap yards themselves will have workers separating brass types on site before selling them. Chromed materials will be a little worse in price because of the extra material that is non-brass.

Should You Separate Them?

If you are debating whether you should separate your chrome and yellow brass, it’s a matter of checking with your scrap yard. See if they have different prices and ways of grading different brass before you go in. If they do have a difference, we absolutely recommend separating them. If they buy both at the same price, we recommend spending your time elsewhere, perhaps stripping wire.

Suggested Reading: The Best Handheld Wire Strippers

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What To Ask Your Scrap Yard:

  • “Do you have different prices at the scale for yellow and chrome brass?”
    • If yes, then you should start separating them.
  • “Do you have different prices for dirty and clean brass?”
    • If yes, ask them how they classify dirty from clean.

What If My Scrap Yard Doesn’t Buy Them Separately?

If you have the luxury of having several scrap yards in your area, call up various locations (found on the iScrap App) and ask them how they grade the brass scrap. Find a scrap yard that does pay for them to be separated and begin bringing your material there.

Suggested Reading: Finding The Best Scrap Yard

Things To Keep In Mind For Scrap Brass

When collecting, separating, and scrapping brass, remember some things to ensure you get the best price and grading possible.

  • As mentioned above, be sure to check with your scrap yard to see how they buy brass
  • Remove any plastic, rubber, or steel from it to get a better price
  • If you have bronze, be sure to keep that separate as well.
  • When scrapping copping tubing, cut off the brass fittings from the end