If you are searching for “scrap yard near me”, you’re probably looking to sell (or buy) scrap metals and make money on those items.
People are becoming more aware that recycling is not only good for the environment but selling scrap metal can make them lots of money.
In fact, selling scrap metal at local scrap yards is a good side hustle idea if you know what you are doing.
To be successful, finding a reliable scrap yard that offers the best scrap metal prices near you is important.
If you want to know how to get the most money from your metal and learn more about scrap metal prices, this post is for you.
Scrap Yards Near Me
Scrap yards buy and sell electronics, appliances and metal vehicles and items which contain any base metal like iron, steel, brass, copper, aluminum, zinc, nickel and lead.
The industry professionals like electricians, contractors, plumbers, demolition companies and others who may produce or work with metals frequently visit these scrap yards.
Other customers of scrap yards are homeowners that may have been renovating their home and have materials that contain metal to recycle.
As long as you have old appliances, out-of-commission cars, motorcycles, bicycles or electronics, a scrap yard near me and you will pay money for the metals.
How to Get the Most Money on Your Metal
Many people are unaware that scrap metal can be recycled for money at the scrap yard near me and you.
Do you have an old car in the driveway that you no longer use or that old broken washing machine in the basement that you always want to get rid of?
You can even scrap old broken Christmas lights that don’t work anymore. The copper wiring inside the wire can be recycled and repurposed.
To help you make the most money and keep these useful materials out of landfills, I’ve rounded up several best tips that you can use before your next visit to the scrap yard.
If you are just starting out, also check out the following YouTube video on how to make money scrapping metal for beginners.
Scrap Metal Types to Look For
Most scrap yards accept metals that can be categorized into three different groups. They are ferrous, non-ferrous and electronics or “e-scrap”:
- Ferrous metals are magnetic metals like steel, iron and cast iron. These are the most sold scrap metals and are generally priced at a lower value.
- Non-ferrous metals are usually the non-magnetic types which include copper, non-magnetic stainless steel, lead, zinc, tin, aluminum and brass. They normally fetch higher prices because they are a little harder to come by.
- E-scrap metals are electronics materials which include circuit boards, hard drives, power supplies and other electronic components. E-scraps contain precious metals such as the non-ferrous gold, silver and platinum.
You can use a magnet to separate magnetic metals (ferrous) from non-magnetic metal (non-ferrous) before bringing them to the scrap yard.
Know Your Metals
If you know how each metal looks like, it will make finding them easier. You could make a lot more money by sorting them according to metal types.
The following scrap metals are commonly found at certain places:
Lead is one of the most recycled materials. You can find them in car batteries, back-up generators, lead-based paint, ammunition etc.
Keep in mind that lead is toxic so please check with your local recycling regulation and laws.
Brass is made primarily of copper and zinc. It’s yellowish with a hint of red and is quite heavy.
Brass also pays well so try to pile them up as much as possible.
Possible brass items include bathroom fixtures, light fixtures, door handles, letterboxes, ornaments, and locks.
Steel is magnetic and often rusts easily. It is an alloy comprising of iron and carbon.
Stainless steel is the product created when you add chromium to steel.
You can find steel everywhere from your car, cans, cabinets, chairs and more.
Steel cans are often mixed with tin to avoid rusting and food contamination. They are different from aluminum cans in that they are magnetic.
Iron is another ferrous metal found in washing machines, cars, lawn mowers, nails, furniture and more.
Add More Copper and Aluminum
Copper is one of the most sought after materials where you can make the most money from selling scrap metal.
It’s a reddish color if it’s in good condition. A worn down copper can be darker brown with some green rusted in certain areas.
You can save time and money by finding copper metal for recycling at the following places.
- Old Christmas lights – Many people have old lights that they no longer use. You can also find them at thrift shops, garage sales and swap meets. While the amount of copper won’t make you tons of money, they are easy and cheap to find. Remember to remove the light bulb body to have a cleaner scrap.
- Inside electronics and computers – you can cut the wires inside items like computers, DVD players, monitors and TVs etc and add them to your insulated wire pile.
- Large and small appliances – you can find a good amount of copper wire in refrigerators, washing machines and small appliances like toasters and coffee maker.
- Extension cords – these are usually priced with regular wire but when added to a pile of copper wire, you can add good weight to them. Just be sure to cut off the plugs.
If your insulated wire pile weight over 100 pounds, stripping the wire isn’t a bad idea otherwise it may not be worth your time to strip them.
Other places to find copper include:
- Plumbing fitting in refrigeration, heating, air conditioning and water supply system
- Insulation and roofing materials like gutters.
Differences Between #1 Copper and #2 Copper
Keep in mind that #1 copper wire is worth a little more than #2 copper wire. Knowing this will prevent you from getting #2 price for your #1 copper.
So what’s the difference between #1 copper and #2 copper?
#1 copper is clean, unalloyed, uncoated and uninsulated copper wire. The copper wire is thicker than 1/16″ (roughly thicker than a pencil lead).
In contrast, #2 copper is not clean. It may have fittings attached, not insulated and have lacquer or tin finish and/or 1 /16″ or smaller.
You can learn more about the difference between copper #1 and copper # 2 here.
Aluminum when unpainted is silver color. Thin ones bend easily.
Although it’s not worth as much as copper or brass, you can probably find them quite easily from beer and soda cans.
It’s important to recycle this metal because when aluminum is recycled, it saves 80 per cent of the energy used to produce them.
To find aluminum for recycling, check out the following items:
- Packaging – aluminum is used in cans and foil
- Building and construction – door and window frames, roofing etc
- Transportation – cars, trucks, boats, bicycles, motorcycles, wheelchairs etc.
Sort and Separate Your Metals
You will get a better quote from the yard by separating your metal by types.
If your material is properly sorted and isn’t mixed with other metals, the yard should be able to give you the best price per pound.
Here are some ideas you can try:
- Try to strip down electronics and appliances to separate the metals.
- Use a magnet to separate ferrous from non-ferrous metals.
- Try to identify the metal by types and sort copper, aluminum, lead, brass etc into separate boxes or containers.
- Label those boxes for easy identification.
- Further sorting the individual metals by cleanliness will help you get the most buck for your scrap. Clean means the non-metal materials have been removed from the metal.
If you want to learn exactly how to separate different grades of copper, aluminum and brass, spend some time watching the YouTube video below.
It’s made by a guy from Melbourne Australia, but the general advice and tips are applicable to anyone who wants to learn how to sort their metals into grades.
Call Every Scrap Yards Near You
Call your local scrap yards to see what types of metal they accept before you go. Also ask how much they pay for each metal type.
Your goal is to find the best scrap yard closest to your location offering the best prices for your metals.
Ask them about any requirements, the minimum weights accepted and how they want you to deliver the scrap metal.
Some companies may be willing to come over to your place to take them out for you depending on the metal type and how much you have for a fee, some for free.
Bigger scrap yards may have higher operating costs so the price you get from them may not always better than those from smaller yards.
Keep in mind that if you are from the U.S., some states like South Carolina have laws stating that you can’t sell non-ferrous metals without a license.
These laws are there to prevent people from selling stolen scrap metals. Again give your local scrap yards a call to ensure what you are doing is in line with the local law.
Stockpile Your Scrap Before You Go
Rather than going to the scrap yard right away each time you have some scrap metal to sell, wait until you have collected enough metal.
Scrap yards buy metal based on weight. The bigger your loads and the cleaner your metals, the more negotiating power you have.
If you want to sell scrap metal as a side hustle, try to develop and maintain a good relationship with the scrap yards so that you can get better prices for your metals.
The better you can sort it, the more you can pocket, and the happier your scrap yard is with you.
That being said, hauling heavy scrap metal can be rough and can scratch or damage your truck quickly. So you may want to get a utility trailer with a ramp.
What’s the Current Price of Scrap?
Prices of scrap metal vary based on your location and are different from one yard to the next.
They will need to sort and weigh your scrap before deciding on the prices. Each material will be priced differently based on the trade market and can change every day.
Again, call ahead before visiting the scrap yard to know the price in advance.
You can also try the iScrap App. With this app, you can find scrap prices near you.
Here are some examples of the average scrap prices for common items. Note that these are the prices for newer appliances:
- Washing machine $18-$22 average weight 200 lbs.
- Dryer $8-$10 average weight 100 lbs.
- Refrigerator with top freezer $16-18 average weight with the compressor taken out 175 lbs.
- Side by side refrigerator $24-$28 average weight with the compressor removed 250 lbs.
- Ovens and ranges $11-$18 average weight 125 lbs.
- Full-size Gas BBQ $16-20 average weight 180 lbs.
- Cast iron bathtub $30-$40 average weight over 300 lbs.
There’s good money to be made when you search for “scrap yard near me” and applied the tips outlined in this article.
When visiting your local scrap yard, it’s a good idea to wear suitable clothing, gloves and boots to safety.
By selling scrap metal at scrap yards near you, you’ll not only be putting money in your pocket but you’ll also help to reduce landfill, save on natural resources and reduce greenhouse emissions.
You can learn more about recycling scrap metal and how it works by visiting the Institute of Scrap metal Recycling Industries, INC (ISRI) website.