Did you know that you can get cash for scrap metal at your local scrap yard?
And possibly even more than if you sell the item at a garage sale.
Whether you have an old lawnmower, appliance, wiring, or even a car, you can get money for the metal in it.
And, in addition to making some extra money, you are keeping those metals out of landfills and reducing the amount of ore that needs to be mined for new metal.
While most metal taken to scrap yards is from the trade industry (old materials they need to get rid of), anyone can bring metals to a scrap yard for some extra cash.
Where Can You Find Metals to Be Scrapped?
Take a look around your house. Check the garage, basement, attic, backyard, etc.
Common items that are made of or have recyclable metal in them include:
- Automotive parts
- Patio furniture
- Swing sets
- Bike frames
- Golf clubs
- Porch railings
- Door and window frames
- Pipes/pipe fittings
- Electrical wiring
- Power cords
- Christmas light wires
- Extension cords
- Power strips
- Electrical motors (HVAC/Ceiling fans)
- Light fixtures
- Pots and pans
- Old electronics
- Game consoles
- Cell phones
- Old appliances
- Air conditioners
- Washing machines
What Metals Do Scrap Yards Accept?
Both ferrous and non-ferrous metal can be scrapped.
However, non-ferrous metals are more valuable to scrap yards, so you'll get more money for it.
You can determine the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals by using a magnet.
Note: Prices listed below are current as of the writing of this article (April 2020). Prices are only for reference and change frequently. For the latest scrap metal prices, click here.
Ferrous (containing iron) metals are:
- More common and therefore, not as valuable at the scrap yard
- Attracted to magnets
Light iron is typically found in appliances.
Cast iron can be found in sinks, stoves, tubs, pipes, radiators, and fireplace grates.
Steel is just about everywhere, which is why you won't get much for it at the scrap yard.
However, steel should still be recycled as it can be used over and over.
Non-ferrous metals are:
- Not as common
- Worth more as scrap metal than ferrous metals
- Not attracted to magnets
While other non-ferrous metals can be recycled at scrap yards (e.g., gold, silver, stainless steel), here are some of the most common.
Aluminum is in cans, siding, radiators, rims, and aluminum sheets.
Brass is in plumbing fixtures, ornamental items, and door fixtures.
Copper is typically found in wires and pipes.
If it is insulated wiring, you need to decide if the work of removing the insulation/covering is worth it.
$1.50-$1.80 for copper tubing and bare copper wire
$0.39-$0.82 for insulated copper wire and home electrical wire
$0.95 for higher gauge copper wire
Scrap Yard Preparation
Once you have your scrap metal collected, there are a few things you should do before heading to the scrap yard.
Clean and Separate Different Metals
Separated metals are typically going to give you more money by weight.
If you bring a mixed bucket of metals to a scrap yard, they may pay you based on the lowest priced metal for the total weight.
Additionally, if you are bringing in an air conditioner, yard tool, or car, ensure all liquids are removed. If the fluids are not removed, they may not take it from you.
Know Scrap Yard Metal Prices
Average prices for common scrap metals are listed above.
However, keep in mind they fluctuate from day-to-day.
Additionally, the price you are offered will depend on several factors. Those factors include if the metals are separated from each other, or disassembled if from an appliance.
Further, different scrap yards may offer different rates for your scrap metal, so it is best to call scrap yards near you to compare prices.
Know Which Scrap Yard to Go To
Some scrap yards are general and will take most types of scrap metal.
However, there are also specialty scrap yards that only take specific types of materials, including cars, computers, wires, sheet metal, boats, engines, and more.
A Google search for scrap yards near me will provide you with the different locations near you to reach out to for your scrap metal needs.
If you have a particular metal you are looking to recycle, add that to your search to see if there is a scrap yard that specializes in it.
If you have a garage that has everything in it but your car, you may want to consider cleaning it out.
You might find valuable trash that you'll never use again that you can take to the scrap yard and make some money. And if you have a pickup truck, you could turn scrapping metal into a side hustle by making money hauling stuff and taking it to the scrap yard. You can scrap metal with any vehicle, but since scrap metal often comes in larger, odd-shaped sizes, a pickup truck helps.
Have you taken scrap metal to the scrap yard lately? What was your experience? Please share any tips and experiences you've had in the comments below.