Scrap metal recycling is big business in the UK, with an annual value of around £5.6 billion. Metals both ferrous and non can be sold to license-carrying merchants, who then process the scrap and transform it into new, high-quality material. As the market prices for scrap have risen, so too has the issue of stolen scrap being sold, so legislation was created in 2013 which prospective sellers must be aware of.

Merchants will now be required by law to confirm a seller’s name and address details, so two forms of identification and a recent bill are now usually required for each transaction. Cash payments for scrap have also been outlawed, and so merchants now pay in the form of cheque, debit card transaction or via a BACS transfer.
These methods usually take around 2 to 3 days to clear and appear in the seller’s bank account. Alternatives to this system are starting to appear, such as scrap-metal cards, which act as an all-in-one identification and payment system, although merchants may not always accept these.Metal prices for each individual type of scrap change frequently based on the state of the current market.Each week, indicators to the value of each individual variety of metal are released which give an estimate to the price being paid by merchants by the tonne. However, it is important to note that these are industrial averages, so smaller transactions may be differ. Similarly, merchants will offer their own prices for scrap, so it is important to check around for the best deal.