Finding treasure in the trash is more than a cliché. Sorting and selling discarded metal items for cash can be profitable. Understanding the different types of metals and their prices is key to earning more at the scrap yard—the top four metals cop: per, aluminum, steel, and iron.
Turning trash into treasure is easy whether you want to make extra cash or help save the environment. All you need is some spare time to find and break down household items that contain metal to sell for scrap. Many people are surprised that their old grills, lawnmowers and refrigerators have metal components that can be sold to the scrap yard. Large appliances are great finds because they generally contain copper wire, tubing, and electric motors, which can all be sold separately.
Remember to bring a magnet and sort your scrap before going to the scrap yard. Having your scrap sorted beforehand will help you get the best prices scrap metal since they are paid by weight and grade. You can use a simple handheld magnet to identify ferrous metals, like iron/steel, from nonferrous metals, like aluminum, brass and zinc, and e-waste.
Plumbing and electrical wiring are just two applications for the incredibly strong and adaptable metal known as copper. It can also be recycled in the form of old coins, jewelry, and other personal accessories. Even the Statue of Liberty is made from recycled copper. The Lady’s dazzling, green patina is 0.005-inch thick and was reclaimed during her restoration for the centennial in 1986. Recycling copper takes far less energy than creating new material from virgin raw materials. An energy-saving single recycled aluminum can last nearly four hours or one hundred watts when lit. That’s why it is so important to bring in your copper scrap for recycling consciously. The best way to ensure that your scrap is weighed and paid for correctly is to locate a recycling center near you and research their prices, accepted materials, and regulations. It’s also a good idea to sort and separate your items by metal type (aluminum, iron, copper) before you recycle them.
There are lots of metal products that get thrown away when they’re no longer useful. Old pots and pans end up in the trash, metal furniture is left on curbs and sidewalks, and even cars and washing machines have plenty of iron. These products can all be turned into treasure in the form of cash by recycling them. Steel is one of the cheapest and heaviest metals out there. You’ll find it in everything from coat hangers to old washing machines. It’s also magnetic, and scrap yards have magnet-fitted cranes to move around tons of it.
You’ll be paid more for nonferrous metals, like aluminum, copper, zinc, and lead, than ferrous metals, usually called “iron.” Some of the best places to look for nonferrous metals include electronics (especially e-waste), old automobiles, and large appliances such as sealed units, copper wire, tubing, and electric motors. Separating your metals into labeled containers at home will help you ensure you get the best price when you bring them to a scrap yard.
Metal isn’t just the backbone of bridges; it’s also in many things we throw away. Rather than let this junk sit in landfills, giving it a second life as a new treasure is often better. For example, many of us have old copper pipes in the garage or basement. Leaving them out for trash disposal exposes them to the elements, which can cause them to rust and lose value. The best way to protect these items is by upcycling them into something new, like a garden statue or a lampshade.
Aluminum is another metal that can be turned into treasure, especially if it is in good condition. It’s the most recycled metal; you can find it in soda cans, window frames, car rims, and other household items. Unlike steel, aluminum won’t stick to magnets. It’s also a great material for educational tools, as it’s highly malleable and can be used for science experiments.