Recycling is an essential practice that helps reduce waste and conserve resources. When it comes to metals, brass is one of the most commonly recycled materials. In this article, we will explore the world of brass recycling, including what brass is, its various types, uses for brass and common items made from brass that can be recycled.
Brass is an alloy composed primarily of copper and zinc, with varying proportions of other elements such as lead, tin, aluminium, nickel, and iron.
This combination gives brass its unique properties, including excellent malleability, corrosion resistance, and attractive aesthetics. Brass has been used by civilizations for centuries due to its versatility and durability.
Brass is typically made up of copper and zinc, but the exact composition can vary depending on the desired properties.
The percentage of copper in brass ranges from 55% to 95%, while zinc content can vary from 5% to 45%. Other elements are often added in smaller amounts to enhance specific characteristics.
Here’s an extensive table summarizing the composition of various brass alloys:
Other Elements (%)
1-5 (lead, iron)
Let’s answer these. Brass is an alloy that exhibits a variety of colours, which can vary depending on its composition and the specific alloying elements present. Here are some common types of brass and their corresponding colours, along with the reasons for their specific hues:
Reason: Red brass gets its colour from its higher copper content, usually around 85-90%. The increased copper content gives it a reddish hue, which becomes more prominent when combined with a small amount of tin.
Colour: Vibrant yellow.
Reason: Yellow brass, also known as architectural brass or 70/30 brass, contains around 60-70% copper and 30-40% zinc. The higher zinc content contributes to its yellow colour.
Colour: Muted yellow-brown
Reason: Composition, processing techniques and desired properties
Industrial brass is a term used to describe brass alloys that are primarily used in industrial applications. The colour of industrial brass can vary depending on the desired properties and alloying elements incorporated. It can range from yellowish hues to reddish-brown tones.
Reason: The higher proportion of zinc in the alloy composition imparts this distinct colour.
White brass, also known as nickel brass or German silver, exhibits a silver-white colour that closely resembles silver itself. White brass is often used as a substitute for silver due to its similar appearance.
Reason for the Specific Color
Higher copper content and the addition of tin
Balanced ratio of copper and zinc
Composition and processing techniques
Higher proportion of zinc in the alloy
Brass uses are found in a wide range of industries, thanks to its desirable properties. Here’s some common brass usage:
Brass usage has seen a significant increase in the manufacturing industry due to its excellent durability and corrosion resistance.
Some of the most frequently asked questions about brass value price and market worth.
The brass value can vary depending on international market trends, demand, and various other factors. Several factors affect the price of brass, including:
To determine the brass value and priced accurately, it is recommended to consult with a reputable brass scrap metal dealer or recycling centre. They will consider these factors and provide you with an appropriate valuation.
The brass value also fluctuates based on international market trends and demand. Here’s an overview of brass pricing considerations based on local and international markets:
International Pricing: The London Metal Exchange (LME) provides benchmark pricing for non-ferrous metals, including copper and zinc, which are essential components of brass. Brass prices often correlate with these base metal prices.
Australian Market: In the Australian market, the brass value can be influenced by factors such as local supply and demand, brass scrap metal dealer rates, and exchange rates. It’s advisable to check with local scrap metal yards or online platforms that provide real-time brass value and pricing information.
Brass scrap recycling is not only cash-generating but also environmentally beneficial. By recycling brass, we can reduce the need for mining new resources and minimize the environmental impact associated with extraction and processing.
Additionally, brass scrap recycling helps conserve energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease landfill waste. It’s a sustainable choice that benefits both the economy and the planet.
Brass comes in various compositions and is classified into different types, each with unique properties. Here are three common types of brass that can contribute to sustainable brass scrap recycling practices:
Composition: Red brass, also known as gunmetal, typically consists of approximately 85% copper, 5% zinc, 5% tin, and 5% lead.
Usage: Red brass has a reddish-brown colour and is commonly used in plumbing fixtures, valves, and pump parts. It possesses excellent corrosion resistance and high tensile strength.
Yellow brass is the most common type of brass and contains around 60% copper and 40% zinc.
Usage: This type of brass has a yellowish appearance and is widely used in musical instruments, hardware, plumbing fittings, and decorative items. It offers good malleability and is resistant to tarnishing.
Industrial brass is a diverse category that encompasses various brass alloys used in industrial applications. The composition of industrial brass can vary significantly depending on the specific application.
Usage: It is commonly used in electrical connectors, automotive parts, and machinery components due to its strength, conductivity, and corrosion resistance.
Brass usage is prevalent in everyday objects. Here are some examples of uses for brass and common brass items. These items can be recycled and contribute to sustainable brass scrap recycling practices.
It is essential to differentiate between solid brass items and brass-plated items before recycling. Here is a simple process to identify the authenticity of brass:
Look for signs of wear and tear or discolouration. Solid brass items tend to develop a natural patina over time, while brass-plated items may show signs of peeling or flaking.
Use a magnet to determine if the item is attracted to it. Solid brass is non-magnetic, whereas brass-plated items may contain magnetic materials beneath the thin brass layer.
Solid brass items are generally heavier than brass-plated objects. Compare the weight of the item in question with a known brass item of similar size.
Apply a small drop of diluted acid (such as vinegar) to an inconspicuous area of the item. If it reacts or corrodes, the item is likely brass-plated, as solid brass is resistant to most acids.
Solid Brass Items
natural patina over time
signs of peeling or flaking
May contain magnetic materials beneath the brass layer
Heavier than brass-plated objects
Lighter than solid brass items
Resistant to most acids
Reacts or corrodes when in contact with acid
Although brass, copper, and bronze share similar characteristics, they differ in composition and appearance. Here’s how you can differentiate brass from copper and bronze:
Brass: Primarily composed of copper and zinc.
Copper: Consists of mostly pure copper with minimal or no alloying elements.
Bronze: An alloy of copper and tin, sometimes including other elements like aluminium or phosphorus.
Brass: Brass has a yellowish or golden colour, but the shade may vary depending on the specific composition.
Copper: Copper has a distinct reddish-brown colour.
Bronze: Bronze typically has a reddish-brown appearance but can vary depending on the alloy composition.
Brass: Brass develops a greenish patina when exposed to air and moisture.
Copper: Copper develops a characteristic greenish patina, known as verdigris, over time.
Bronze: Bronze can develop a greenish or brownish patina, depending on the specific alloy.
Gold or Yellowish
Reddish-brown (can vary)
Chemical Test (HCl)
Greenish or brownish
Bronze is frequently confused with brass. Although they are both different from each other. So, the question remains, “What is bronze made up of?”
Bronze is another popular copper-based alloy, primarily composed of copper and tin. The addition of tin gives bronze-enhanced strength, corrosion resistance, and a unique reddish-brown colour.
Bronze has been used throughout history for sculptures, tools, and weapons due to its durability and unique properties.
Other Elements (%)
Recycling brass is not only financially rewarding but also environmentally responsible. By identifying and collecting various types of brass items, such as red brass, yellow brass, and industrial brass, you can contribute to the circular economy and reduce the demand for new resources.
Differentiating solid brass from brass-plated items and distinguishing brass from copper and bronze are crucial skills for effective recycling. So, gather your brass items and recycle them today to play your part in building a greener world.
If you have brass scrap items that you’re ready to recycle, bring them to our recycling centre. We accept all kinds of brass, including red brass, yellow brass, and industrial brass. We provide market-competent brass value, ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your recycled brass items.
Recycle your brass scrap today!
Join West Coast Metal in creating a greener future.
West Coast Metal Accept All Types of Brass for Recycling!
When it comes to scrapping brass, the best type of brass to consider depends on the specific application and the current market prices for different brass alloys.
Red Brass: 85-90% copper. Red brass fetches a higher price due to its higher copper content.
Yellow Brass: (60-70% copper) (30-40% zinc). Yellow brass is typically accepted and valued by scrap yards.
Red brass is most frequently used in water metres and other plumbing fittings like faucet valves. Additionally, various musical instruments and jewellery are made from it.
Brass is a low-friction, soft, non-ferrous metal. Brass can easily be cut, sawed, and drilled. Brass is a fantastic option for components where corrosion resistance is crucial.
Red brass is the most durable of all metals for plumbing systems and commercial water pipe usage.
The Patina Effect: Brass will become blue-green when exposed to air and water. The patina effect on brass is somewhat less blue and more green.
No Brass isn’t magnetic.
Acoustic applications: Brass has unique acoustic properties that contribute to resonant sound production. It is favoured in musical instruments such as horns and bells etc.