Scrap silver-plated items by selling them to places that practice the secondary refining of precious metals, such as Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. Such places first test silver-plated items to determine the purity of the silver, then price the items accordingly.
Silver plate is usually applied to copper, brass, metal or nickel. Such items commonly fall into the categories of flatware and hollowware and are inexpensive. The layer of silver is typically very thin, and the process of recovering the thin layer of silver from silver-plated items is expensive. Most metal refiners do not melt such material down because the cost of the energy needed to do so is much higher than the value of the recovered silver, states Examiner.com. However, some types of silver-plated flatware and hollowware are considered collectibles and are very valuable. If you possess collectible silver-plated items, the better option may be to sell those items to collectors instead of scrapping them.
The majority of silver-plated cutlery and hollowware does not contain silver; it has a copper-zinc-nickel alloy as its base metal, which is referred to as electro-plated silver-nickel. The nickel content gives it an appearance similar to silver. This type of cutlery and hollowware is marked "E.P.N.S."