Scrap Metal Processing Worker

Remove non-metal refuse from piles of recycling headed to the plant.
picture of Scrap Metal Processing Worker

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$18,000 – $49,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Scrap Metal Processing Workers do?

Pop cans, strips of tinfoil, and unused dumbbells can all be melted down, mashed into new shapes, and given new life. All of these unwanted bits are made up of different elements, however, and they sometimes contain pieces that are not made of metal at all. A Scrap Metal Processing Worker processes these metal items and prepares them for the next stage of recycling.

Some Scrap Metal Processing Workers deal with only one type of product. You might spend all day working with circuit boards, for example. Other Scrap Metal Processing Workers deal with a variety of items.

When an item arrives, you inspect it and remove anything that isn’t made of metal. Often, you perform this step quickly, as pieces fly by you on a conveyor belt and then you toss the metal into a receptacle. Often, you have different receptacles for different types of metal, and you’re an expert at discerning what type of element a product is made of.

When the metal bin is full, you use a forklift to deliver it to a crushing machine. When the metal is reduced to a heavy brick that sticks together by itself, you pick it back up and haul it to another area in the warehouse for delivery to Smelters.

A Supervisor monitors your work, and you may have a specific quota to meet each and every day. When your machinery jams or runs erratically, you’re bound to miss the production mark. You’re quick to repair problems as soon as they occur, or you notify your Supervisor that the machine is broken.

Should I be a Scrap Metal Processing Worker?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to Become a
    Scrap Metal Processing Worker

    Scrap Metal Processing Workers generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Scrap Metal Processing Worker-related education!
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