Rust is the common name for a chemical compound known as iron oxide. This compound forms when iron reacts with water and oxygen, presenting itself as a rough, orange-red substance. Technically speaking, only iron and alloys that contain iron can rust. Other metals, including precious metals like gold and silver, can corrode in a similar way.
What sets certain metals apart?
The duration of time it takes for certain metals to begin rusting (or corroding) is what sets these materials apart. Regardless, in almost all cases, rust is a nuisance. Not only is it unsightly, its a hindrance to functionality as well. If you allow rust to exist on a metal object for a long enough period of time, it can start to eat through the object, slowly compromising its structural integrity.
The good news, however, is rust can often be removed. Because it can be removed, rusted metal objects can usually still be recycled.
Be warned though. The more rust that eats away as a metal object, the less that object is going to weight, and the less money you’ll be able to get for recycling it.
Does Copper Rust?
Copper does not rust, however, it does corrode. Copper is naturally brown and turns a shade of bright green as it corrodes. While some consider copper’s reaction to be tarnish rather than oxidation, the metal still undergoes a similar “rusting” process.
Reducing the recycling value.
The fact of the matter is that regardless of whether or not you remove it, rust can reduce the recycling value of a metal item. For this reason, its wise to try to prevent rust from forming in the first place.
If you have metal object that are only slightly rusted, you can usually rid remove the rust in just a short amount of time. There are a number of substances that can be used to remove rust from metal. In most cases, however, its easiest to try to remove rust with a sander or grinder.
If you have have heavily-rusted items on your hands, and if you’re looking to recycle them, your best bet would be to sell them to a metal recycling company. After rust is already caked on any object, its nearly impossible to remove entirely.
However, keep in mind that a metal recycling company will be able to melt down your rusted metal objects, separating their usable parts so that they can be used for new purposes.