Collecting and selling scrap metal can be a viable way to earn a bit of extra cash on the side. Like any activity, you want to make sure you stay safe while collecting and preparing the scrap to sell. Fortunately, you have the following tips to help guide you towards a safer scrap collecting experience.

Tip #1: Wear the right gear

Protective gear is the most import thing when it comes to scrap collection and recycling. Start with heavy leather gloves. Rough, sharp edges are common when it comes to scrap metal. One cut can lead to an infection or worse. You should also wear closed-toe shoes, eye protection, and long sleeve shirts and long pants. This way, most of your body is protected from the sharp edges or irritants you are most likely to be exposed to when collecting.

Tip #2: Watch what you inhale

Depending on where and what you collect, dangerous chemicals and fumes could be a concern. Lead and cadmium exposure is most common, which is why you wear gloves. If there will be fluids and fumes where you are collecting, then an N92 particulate mask or a lightweight construction gas mask is a must. In many cases, dangerous fumes are odorless and you will not know you have been exposed until it is too late. Wear a mask if there is any chance of exposure.

Tip #3: Disassemble with care

Some scrap items need to be taken apart and the scrap removed before you can sell them. This is commonly the case with small appliances, like microwaves, or with electronics. If you want to move into the method of scrapping, make sure you are well educated on how to disassemble the item in question and that you have a disposal site nearby for the leftover components. Generally, the inside of these items contains many hazards, including things like lead, so this type of scrapping isn't suitable for beginners.

Tip #4: Be prepared for emergencies

Emergencies will happen. Begin by making sure your emergency contact information is set up and easy to find in your phone, or carry an emergency contact card. If you have health issues or allergies, wear a bracelet or a carry a card to alert emergency workers. It's also a good idea to get your tetanus shot up-to-date before you begin scrapping. Finally, keep a first aid kit with you and know how to use it.

For more help, contact a local scrap dealer or visit websites like