5 Tips For Scrap Metal Junkies


Americans throw millions of dollars worth of metal into the garbage each year -- just the gold and silver in discarded cell phones is valued at more than $60 million annually. This figure doesn't even approach the value of other metals, including steel appliances, copper wires and electrical components, brass fittings and aluminum gutters or window frames, all of which end up languishing in landfills. Individually, each of these discarded items is worth relatively little; to the ambitious scrap metal collector, however, these metals can bring big bucks. If you'd like to get started in scrap, check out these five tips for making money selling scrap metal.

Knowledge is Money

Iron and steel are the most common and least valuable metals. A simple magnet will reveal if you have simple steel or something more valuable -- if the magnet sticks, the object is made of iron or steel. Aluminum and stainless steel are slightly more valuable than traditional steel, while brass and other alloys can fetch $1 to $2 per pound. Copper is the Holy Grail for scrappers, ringing in at $2 to $4 per pound. Keep in mind that prices can vary significantly by region, so learn what metals are most in demand in your region to help narrow your search.

Find Free Metal Sources

When you're ready to start scrapping, take a tour of your own property to look for hidden values. That broken vacuum cleaner or old computer monitor collecting dust in the basement typically contains some valuable scrap. You can also search online classifieds for people giving away obsolete appliances and electronics. Many metal collectors also look for finds on the side of the road when trash day rolls around. Of course, you should never trespass on someone else's property, but items left on the curb are usually fair game.

Expand Your Search

Once you've exhausted your own property and collected all the scrap you can, it's time to expand your search to increase your scrap pile. Consider starting a free hauling business where you offer to collect and dispose of junk for free. Sure, you may end up with some worthless items, but you could also end up with valuable appliances or other sources of metal. It's also helpful to build partnerships with good scrap sources, including apartment maintenance men, storage companies -- including storage auction firms -- and local construction companies. Make it clear that you'll haul away junk at no cost as long as you can keep any scrap you can salvage.

Divide and Conquer

Before you can scrap your finds, you'll have to divide it by metal type. This often means dissecting appliances or electronics to get the metal out. You can find instructional videos for many common appliances on the web, such as this video covering how to remove copper from an air conditioner. It also means stripping wires, breaking the glass out an aluminum frame, and sorting metal into individual containers. Sure, you could simply take a complete air conditioning unit to the scrap yard,but you'll probably only get paid based on the low rate of the steel casing. If you sort out the copper compressor, you can earn much more per pound for the copper, then sell the steel casing separately at a lower rate.

Know When Not to Scrap

In some cases, you can actually make more money repairing certain appliances than you can be scrapping them. Learn basic repair techniques and consider repairing and selling appliances that are in relatively good condition. If you can make $20 scrapping a washing machine or $75 selling it, it makes more sense to sell it if required repairs are relatively simple. Get familiar with used appliance prices in your area to help you decide whether to scrap or sell.

For more information, contact Summit Recycling of Penn Hills or a similar company.


23 February 2015

Get Green When Moving

About 10 years ago, I moved into my current home. Without being environmentally conscious at the time, I didn’t give much thought to how I moved my belongings from my old place to my current abode. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate the environment much more. I realize that we only have a certain amount of resources and should do everything in our power to conserve them. Nowadays, you can plan a green move easier than ever before. Some moving companies offer reusable containers for you to pack your stuff in. The amount of green transportation options is constantly increasing. On this blog, you will learn how to get green on your next move.