Industry specifications

United Kingdom specifications for iron and steel scrap for the manufacturing of iron and steel.

These jointly agreed specifications are subject to regular reviews which take into account new sources of scrap, the introduction of new processes and the development of customer requirements. The specifications below came into effect on October 1, 2006, and supercede those issued on January 1, 1995.

These specifications were agreed by the Cast Metals Federation, UK Steel and the British Metals Recycling Association, from whom copies of a specifications booklet can be purchased.

Ferrous grades

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General conditions for all grades:

All deliveries of scrap must comply with all statutory and legal requirements including those relating to health, safety and the environment and should be processed in appropriate ways.

Grade OA

Plate and structural, consisting of cut structural and plate arisings predominantly 6mm thick in sizes not exceeding 1.50m x 0.60m x 0.60m (or as otherwise agreed) prepared in a manner to ensure compact charging. May include properly prepared wagon material less than 6mm thick. Excludes tube and hollow section.

Grade 1

Old Steel, predominantly 6mm thick, in sizes not exceeding 1.50m x 0.60m x 0.60m (or as otherwise agreed) prepared in a manner to ensure compact charging. May include tube and hollow section, wire rope properly prepared by agreement with consumer, properly prepared material from heavy commercial vehicles including wheels, but excluding body and wheels from light vehicles.

Grade 2

Old Steel, predominantly 3mm thick, in sizes not exceeding 1m x 0.60m x 0.60m (or as otherwise agreed) prepared in a manner to ensure compact charging. May include properly prepared material from dismantled vehicles including light vehicle wheels, but must exclude vehicle body arisings and also domestic appliances.

Grade 3A

Fragmentised, old light steel arisings fragmentised into pieces not exceeding 150mm in any direction. Must be free from dirt, free non-ferrous metals and foreign material and exclude excessive moisture, introduced loose cast iron, incinerator material, grindings, swarf, turnings and borings. Should also be free from tin cans. Must conform to the following specifications:

  • Density: 1 tonne per cubic metre minimum
  • Sn content: 0.03% max
  • Cu content:  0.20% max

Grade 3B

Fragmentised, old light steel arisings fragmentised into pieces not exceeding 200mm in any direction. Must be free from dirt, free non-ferrous metals and foreign material and exclude excessive moisture, introduced loose cast iron, incinerator material, grindings, swarf, turnings and borings. Should also be free from tin cans. Must conform to the following specifications:

  • Density: 0.8 tonne per cubic metre minimum
  • Sn content: 0.03% max
  • Cu content:  0.25% max

Grade 3C

Fragmentised, old light steel arisings fragmentised into pieces. Must be free from dirt, free non-ferrous metals and foreign material and exclude excessive moisture, introduced loose cast iron, incinerator material, grindings, swarf, turnings and borings. Should also be free from tin cans.

  • Density: 0.60 tonne per cubic metre

Grade 4A

New production compressed steel sheet (less than 3mm thick) bales, in works furnace sizes, free from all coated, tinned, galvanised, enamelled and deleterious material (other than by joint agreement from a specified source). Tightly baled and free from loose material.

Grade 4C

New production compressed steel sheet (less than 6mm thick) Bales in works furnace sizes, including a proportion of coated material, but excluding tin, enamel and terne coating, stamping and forging flash, bar and billet ends and other high residual material. Tightly baled and free from loose material.

Grade 4E

New production compressed steel bales, including rod and wire, in works’ furnace sizes, including a proportion of coated material but excluding tin-coated ferrous material and excluding copper washed steel wire other than by joint agreement. Tightly baled and free from loose material.

Grade 4F

New production steel strip and/or wire bobbins. In works’ furnace sizes, including a proportion of coated material, but excluding tin-coated ferrous material and excluding copper washed wire other than by joint agreement. Must be securely fastened.

Grade 4G

New Production Compressed De-tinned Steel Sheet (less than 0.25mm thick) Bales in works’ furnace sizes. Tightly baled and free from loose material.

  • Sn content 0.05% max
  • Cu content 0.15% max
  • Cr content 0.04% max
  • Ni content 0.02% max

Grade 5A

Compressed old light steel in works’ furnace sizes. Must be free from tin coated and non-metallic material. Must not include heavy iron and steel, wire ropes, wire, fuel tanks, or tin coated materials and must not include loose or free dirt or tyres.

Grade 5B

Pressed and sheared old light steel. To include material emanating from press shears, consisting of pressed and sheared depolluted motor cars, white goods and old light iron and steel arisings. Must not include heavy iron and steel, wire ropes, wire, fuel tanks, or tin coated materials and must not include loose or free dirt or tyres.

Grade 5C

Loose old light steel. May consist of depolluted motor cars, white goods and old light iron and steel arisings. Must not include heavy iron and steel, wire ropes, wire, fuel tanks, or tin coated materials and must not include loose or free dirt or tyres.

Grade 6A

Incinerator Bales – Compressed Steel Bales consisting predominantly of tin coated steel cans processed through an incinerating plant and magnetically separated following incineration and prior to baling. Bale size and density to be jointly agreed.

Grade 6B

Loose incinerated – Steel arisings in loose form consisting predominantly of tin coated steel cans processed through an incinerating plant and magnetically separated following incineration.

Grade 6C

Non-incinerated magnetically extracted steel cans – baled. Steel food, drinks and other domestic cans magnetically extracted from non-sorted and non-incinerated domestic waste at municipal and private waste treatment plants and materials recycling facilities. May have minor visible presence of other materials such as paper and plastics. Bale size and density to be jointly agreed.

Grade 6D

Non-incinerated magnetically extracted steel cans – loose. Steel food, drinks and other domestic waste at municipal and private waste treatment plants and materials recycling facilities. May have some minor visible presence of other materials such as paper and plastics.

Grade 6E

Clean steel cans – baled. Steel from food, drinks and domestic aerosol cans collected from the public e.g. by can banks and door-to-door (“kerbside”) collection schemes. Cans should be free from excessive contamination by other materials. Bale size and density to be jointly agreed.

Grade 6F

Clean steel cans – loose. Steel from wood, drinks and domestic aerosol cans, collected from the public e.g. by can banks and door-to-door (“kerbside”) collection schemes. Cans should be free from excessive contamination from other materials.

Grade 7A

Heavy Carbon Steel Turnings. Crushed or naturally short, shovellable, excluding bushy or heavily oxidised turnings, free non-ferrous metals, scale, grinding dust, or other materials from chemical industries and free from excessive oil.

Grade 7B

Heavy Carbon Steel Turnings. The majority crushed or naturally short, but with up to 20% bushy content permissible (by volume as determined by visual examination) not shovellable, excluding free non-ferrous metals, scale, grinding dust, heavily oxidised turnings or other materials from chemical industries, and free from excessive oil.

Grade 8A

New Loose Light Steel Cuttings. Suitable for pressing, free from coated, tinned, enamelled and all deleterious material (other than by joint agreement from a specified source). May include galvinised steel (although the proportion may be limited by joint agreement).

Grade 8B

Loose Light Steel Cuttings suitable for pressing. May include an agreed proportion of coated material, but excluding tin coated, terne coated and enamelled material.

Grade 9A

Heavy Cast Iron. Not less than 13mm thick, in works’ furnace sizes, free from burnt metal.

Grade 9B

Cylinder Block. Low phosphorus iron, usually arising from the dismantling of vehicles and commonly known as cylinder block arisings (including the cylinder block head). Gearboxes containing gears to be discarded. Gearboxes stripped of gears may be included. Steel crankshafts, connecting rods, aluminium pistons and all other aluminium components to be removed.

Grade 9C

Oil Free New Production or Burnt Cylinder Block. Low phosphorus iron. Cylinder block heads and stripped gearboxes may be included if oil free and all steel, alloy and non-ferrous components are removed.

Grade 10

Light cast iron. In works’ furnace sizes, free from burnt metal.

Grade 11A

Clean Cast Iron or Malleable Iron Borings and Drillings, free from steel turnings, scale, lumps and excessive oil.

Grade 11B

Briquetted Cast Iron Borings, free from corroded lumps and excessive cutting fluids.

Grade 12A

New Production Heavy Steel, excluding forging, flashings and stampings, predominantly 6mm thick in sizes not exceeding 1.50m x 0.60m x 0.60m (or as otherwise agreed) prepared in a manner to ensure compact charging, may include tube and hollow section with a wall thickness of not less than 6mm and a maximum overall outside diameter or wall to wall outside measurement of 50mm.

Grade 12C

New Production Heavy Steel, predominantly 3mm thick in sizes not exceeding 0.60m x 0.60m x 0.60m, or as otherwise agreed, prepared in a manner to ensure compact charging. May include tube and hollow section, new vehicle wheels, forging flashings and stampings.

Grade 12D

New Production Clean Shovellable Steel, in sizes not exceeding 150mm in any direction. May include new factory sheet clippings, punchings and stampings.

letsrecycle.com price specifications

Metal recycling is one of the largest recycling industries within the UK. The prices shown here provide an indication of the sums that may be paid within the metals recycling industry by typically medium to large sized businesses who are receiving material from merchants and local collectors. Our prices are guide prices and aim to give a good indication of the market price but cannot be guaranteed.

The letsrecycle.com ferrous prices are usually revised at the beginning of each month and non-ferrous prices on a weekly basis.

Within the trade the quality of material presented and the volumes may influence the prices paid.


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