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When thinking of scrapping and recycling metal, what comes to mind? It’s easy to imagine a high tech, modern industry that only came into being within the last 100 years. It’s interesting to know that in actual fact, metal recycling has been taking place from as early in history as 400-500 BC. That’s over 2,500 years ago! Our article guides you through the fascinating history of scrap metal recycling though the ages.


Reforging metal is one of the world’s oldest recycling practices. Prior to the industrial revolution, metal wasn’t a material that was simple to mass produce. It was easier for our ancestors to melt down and repurpose their pre-existing tools and jewellery to generate the materials they needed. This saved them from mining for new ones. In modern times, our motivation for repurposing metals comes from a more environmental point of view. However, in ancient times it was more often about being economical and using what was already available.

There is evidence of the Romans having melted down their old bronze coins and reusing them to make statues. When wars increased the demand for new weaponry, they even repeatedly used the metals from old swords to make new armour. Historians have reported that the Egyptians similarly used to melt down and reform their working tools when they become too blunt to continue making the famous pyramids.


The invention of the Printing Press in 1436 by Johann Guttenberg of Mainz, Germany, made reading material readily available to the masses. Guttenberg was the first to make his type forms from a mixture of lead, tin and antimony. Doing this allowed them to be melted down and repurposed to make new letters every few days when needed. This is a good example of alloys being used in industry. An alloy is a mixture of 2 or more metals. If you are ever unsure which type of metal you have before bringing it in to be weighed by us, visit our blog post for more information.


By 1904, the first aluminium recycling centres had sprung up in America. A huge turning point for scrapping and recycling metal in the UK came during World War 2 in 1939-1945. Huge amounts of metal were required to make the tanks, ships, planes and artillery required for the war effort. People across the country were being encouraged to donate and repurpose all the scrap metal they could find to keep up with the increasing demand. During this time, the first nationwide campaign encouraging metal recycling was advertised. As a result of so much metal being needed overseas, items that were made of metal became rationed on the home front.


Towards the back end of the 20th century, people were becoming increasingly aware of acting in more environmentally friendly ways. Reducing our impact on the planet to prevent global warming became an pressing issue. Recycling initiatives began to become common place in most households by the turn of the century. Reusing materials was no longer less favourable than buying new. The first ever Earth Day was held in 1970 and is considered the turning of the tide for people being more mindful of the environment when disposing of or scrapping their resources.


Now we have reached the forefront of our guide to scrap metal recycling through the ages! Fast forward to the 21st century and recycling and reusing materials has become common place in most households all across the country. Recycling bins have become a part of our everyday lives. Scrap metals from food and drinks cans are easily collected and widely recycled from the kerbside. Scrap yards and the machinery used within them have become increasingly more accurate and high tech.

It’s no secret that KAS Metal are industry leaders in scrap metal recycling. Our modern and state of the art facility allows all material brought to us to be weighed in on our platform scales. It is then processed through our weighing software system. Each weigh is grossed and tared to avoid errors before a weighing ticket is issued. We are fully compliant with waste regulations, always giving our customers a transparent view of the process from start to finish.

You don’t need to be a scrap trader to sell to us. We buy scrap metal from everyone.  We are proud to offer a range of payment options, including bank transfer, cheque or prepaid card.  The best part isn’t even in the payment options that we offer. All metal weighed in before 4.00pm is paid the SAME day! If you live in Atherton, Wigan, Leigh, Manchester and have scrap metal to sell, come pay us a visit.

We are open Monday – Wednesday 8.00 – 4.30pm and Thursday – Friday, 8.00 – 5.30pm. If you have any questions, you can reach us on: tel: 01942 88 33 22 or take a look at our FAQ’s

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