scrap metal

Scrap metal recycling is currently strong. The truth is, however, is that it is an opportunity to make a fiscally and environmentally financial investment, how do you make Scrap Metal Recycling a Job.

People like to talk about recycling like it is a selfless act,  done out of love for mother earth. That may be the case for those who set little bits of paper at the street in a green bin. But the real recycling is done for money. It is done for cash money, and I’m not talking chump change, I’m talking stacks of cash. An average person with a truck can make up to $40,000 a year scrapping metal if they work full time. If they scrap part time as a second job, they could easily make $15,000; that’s  almost $300 a week. Oh, by the way, no taxes.

Scrap metal has been one of the biggest exports in north america for the last five or ten years. It has gained popularity in that time due mainly to the increase in demand for base metals. Copper in 2006 was getting scrapped at around $2.80, when, in 2000, you were lucky to get 50 cents. The trend is likely to continue: commodities are going up, inflation is kicking ass, and the rest of the world is looking for materials too. The truth is, I don’t see the act of scrapping metal going away any time soon. I see it taking over. I can see a day when you get paid for all your trash so waste management can sort all of the recyclables.

Scrapping metal may seem daunting at first, but in reality, it is simple. You find scrap metal, you sell scrap metal. You get paid more for having more metal. You get paid more for having the expensive metal. And you get paid the most when you have more of the expensive metal. Here are just a few of the more common metals:

Now there are many types of alloys, and those above metals are what mostly make up alloys. For example, if you alloy copper and tin you get bronze, and if you alloy copper and zinc you get brass, both of which have high scrap value. If you alloy iron and carbon (not a metal) you get steel (about as valuable as iron). When you alloy steel with chromium, you get a type of stainless steel.

Making money. The first step is to locate and acquire scrap metal. There is a constant flux of scrap being discarded every day and it is the job of a scrapper to have his or her eyes open constantly. When you see scrap on the side of the road, in a dumpster, at a garage sale, or at an auction, you need to have a reasonable idea of its value. You must collect everything when worth it; and no matter what, if it is free, take it. That means the best way to collect scrap metal, is to collect metal that people are throwing out.

On garbage day, everybody is taking a quarter and setting it at the end of their driveway, or in their collection system. Wouldn’t you think that very silly of people? Wouldn’t you walk, or hell, drive through you neighborhood picking up all of those quarters. For every four houses, you would get a dollar. If it was dimes, would you do it? nickels? Pennies? What if you saw dollar bills? This is what is going on every night before collection day in your neighborhood. People are driving along the curb picking up any of the change you leave at the street.

Every home throws out some type of metal every day. Lets say each person tosses out 1 pound of scrap every week. That means every second in the USA over $30 in scrap is being thrown away, or 1 billion dollars every year is going in the trash. That is assuming all of the metal is very, very cheap.

So, the afternoon before the trash is collected near your home, drive around looking for what type of change people are throwing to the curb. This means anything from metal broom sticks to appliances. If you find a lawn chair, that’s like a quarter. If you find a big appliance, like a refrigerator, that’s more like a dollar bill. One thing I learned – don’t be afraid to pick up the pennies. In other words, don’t hesitate to jump out of your truck to grab a little tiny metal nothing, because you never know what that could lead to. I once jumped out of my truck to grab a small tin box, only to see a mysterious toolbox hidden from my sights. When I popped open the toolbox, I found a giant assortment of brass fittings.

Sometimes you may find scrap in places you never thought to look. For instance, every monitor has over copper in it.

So once you get your scrap, what do you do with it?…Well, the answer is simple. Sell it. Sell it for the best deal possible. It may seem obvious, but to some folks its a mystery. I talk to people every day who have absolutely no idea what scrapping metal is. They are so wrapped up as part of a resource digesting machine — they are so far gone from where their discarded commodities are going– that scrap metal seems alien. but I digress. Selling the scrap is really quite easy; the first thing you must do is sort it.

Sorting junk is all about common sense and experience. The more questions you ask at the scrap yard the better. When you ask questions at a scrap yard, they should answer with enthusiasm. If they want to be successful, ultimately, you need to be successful. You can also call ahead, or while you’re working, to get a good handle on things. Because every scrap yard has idiosyncratic procedures and standards, its up to you to figure out what they are looking for.

The first thing, I would say, is to separate  all your metal into ferrous and non ferrous piles. “Ferrous” is latin for iron, so in other words, piles of iron and non iron scrap. The next, is to further subcategorize the non ferrous piles. Copper wire, electric motors, aluminum, zinc, and lead should definitely get separated to the side. Most yards will separate the wire again by % of copper, the aluminum by quality, ect, so find out what they are looking for the next time you go to the yard.

Before your scrap yard weighs all of your stuff, they may or may not ask for identification. Don’t be alarmed, some states require this by law to deter theft. Once you are weighted in (however your scrap yard does that) you will most likely get a ticket. That ticket will usually say what quantity and type of metal was brought in, and it will be read at the payout window or booth so you can get paid. The best part is, the money you get will not have any taxes taken out of it!