Scrap metal recycling can be a lucrative business venture if you are willing to collect enough metal materials. Common items in include soda cans and copper wire, but there are many other possibilities. Most recycling centers like Get Green Recycling Co. will take a wide variety of materials, even items that you might think that would avoid, such as food cans. The key to getting the most money for your scrap is to know what you have gathered and to gather as much of it as possible. There are three tips to keep in mind when preparing your scrap for sale.
Always Use a Magnet
A magnet is your first and best tool for separating metals. Ferrous metals are items that a magnet will stick, such as steel and iron. These types of metal are of low value. They are generally weighed and purchased based on a 100 lb. ratio. This means that you are paid a certain amount for every 100 lbs. of ferrous metal that you can bring in to a recycling center. While most centers will take less than 100 lbs. per load, the overall amount that will be paid will be quite small. For instance, the price of steel might only bring a few cents per pound and it is often sold by the ton on the open market.
Non-ferrous metals are where the money is when it comes to selling scrap metal. These scrap items are bought by the pound. Aluminum, brass, and copper are considered to be the most common and lucrative non-precious materials that can be sold for scrap. Aluminum is generally worth less than brass per pound, and brass is normally worth less than copper per pound.
Always Separate Your Metal Scrap
It may seem obvious to keep items such as aluminum and steel separate when selling them. However, there are different grades of a specific material and those grades allow for different values. Copper, for instance, has several different value grades. Copper comes in solid, non-solid, breakage, alloy, and wire forms. Among these forms the most commonly gathered items are the solid and wire forms. However, even these individual forms of copper have separate grading designations. Solid copper is worth the most overall.
Solid Copper – This type of copper comes in several grades. The two most common grades are number one and number two. Prices vary by location, but an example would be the price for solid copper in Spokane. The price for #1 and #2 copper in Spokane can be cited as being between $1.85 and $2.08 per pound, without further bonuses for the total amount brought to sale.
- Number One Copper – This is typically shown as #1 copper. This scrap metal grade references any solid, unalloyed copper that is not wire. This is the highest grade of copper. They cannot be less than 1/16 of an inch thick. It also needs to be clean, which means that there can be no other materials attached to it.
- Number Two Copper – This is typically shown as #2 copper. This must be at least 96%, considered unalloyed, copper. It needs to be free of excessive amounts of materials such as oil, but there may be sections of soldered material attached.
If you combine several types of scrap copper together in one load, it may default to number two copper due to some of it having soldered bits or not being completely clean. This can impact the price. Separate and sell each type of copper as a different load to maximize profits.
Call All of the Scrap Yards in Your Area
The prices for various types of scrap metal will vary by location, but will usually only fluctuate slightly in a given area. Call all of the local scrap yards and determine their specific price for a given metal each day. Take your scrap metal to the location that is closest to you and that pays the most. This will cut down on time and fuel costs, while maximizing profits. This will also allow you to familiarize yourself with the local price of a given type of scrap metal, something that online searches might not help with quite as much since the value of metal can vary a little from one region to another. Further, scrap yards in your area might not have a website, or may not update their site frequently with current pricing information.