Today, scrapping metal has many benefits. From its many environmental advantages, to cars for cash, prudent individuals have realised the value of scrapping their unwanted metal with reputable Authorised Treatment Facilities like Car Scrap Surrey.

In the 1940s however, the scrap metal industry took on an even higher level of importance, with countless scrap metal drives directly contributing to the war effort.

The importance of scrap

To build tanks, ships, planes, and weaponry during the Second World War, an unprecedented amount of metal was required. For example, a single tank needed around 18 tons alone. Iron could easily be melted down into munitions, and because of this, recycling metal was encouraged in order to keep up with high demand. From chicken wire to pots and pans, farm equipment to car parts, many people on the home front organised – and donated in – scrap metal drives across the country.

Donating for victory

With schools and community groups organising scrap metal drives, the level of metal collected throughout the war years was a resounding success.

At a 1941 aluminium scrap drive, for example, a massive 70,000 tons of pots and pans were donated. And another campaign garnered 5 millions tons of steel in just three weeks. People competed to see who could collect the most scrap metal, and celebrities even got involved, with Rita Hayworth once announcing that she was “harvesting a bumper crop for Uncle Sam” and “setting an example by turning in unessential car parts.” The real challenge however, would be translating these scrap metal items into valuable munitions.


In more recent times, it’s been suggested that scrap metal drives were less effective in generating physical weaponry than initially thought. Aircraft, for example, could only be manufactured from virgin aluminium. Many people got so swept along with the patriotism associated with scrap metal donation that they gave up items that were later missed, including historic monuments and canons. What historians have speculated however, is that these scrap metal drives were invaluable in boosting morale, with civilians coming together and pitching in to help.

The bottom line

Whether scrap metal drives were more beneficial in generating weaponry, or simply in stirring patriotic belief on the home front, there’s certainly no doubting their positive contribution to the war effort.

In 2013, the benefits of metal recycling long continue. So, if you’d like to take advantage of the financial and environmental incentives of scrapping, get in touch with Car Scrap Surrey to find out more.