How to Make Extra Holiday Money With Scrap Metal

Written by merle huerta
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How to Make Extra Holiday Money With Scrap Metal
An old washing machine, made mostly from steel, can be sold as scrap metal. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Holiday expenses can wreak havoc with your household budget. You might want to try offsetting holiday expenditures with income earned from scrap metal. Many household appliances, aluminium siding, old cars and pots and pans are recyclable, and scrap-metal dealers will pay you money in exchange. As a bonus, recycling your scrap metal conserves energy and raw materials required for steel, iron and aluminium production. According to, scrap metal requires 95 per cent less energy than the energy needed to produce steel and aluminium from raw materials.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Old cars
  • Appliances
  • Aluminium siding
  • Brass fixtures
  • Flatware

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  1. 1

    Research scrap-metal recycling centres and scrap-metal dealers in your area. With a computer and an Internet connection, you can gain access to many dealers within your geographic region. Most local libraries have computers with Internet and yellow-pages sections of the telephone book.

  2. 2

    Make a list of items scrap-metal dealers and centres accept. If you have household Items made of steel, iron, brass, aluminium and copper, you can safely assume a scrap dealer will buy them. Many web sites of scrap-metal dealers list materials they will and won't accept.

  3. 3

    Look through your house, garage and tool shed for items dealers might consider scrap metal. Old cars, washing machines and dryers, aluminium siding, wiring, automotive parts, such as catalytic converters and engines, and aluminium sinks may be of value to a scrap dealer.

  4. 4

    Research international scrap-metal prices. Prices are listed in the business section of the newspaper, on the Internet and through some members-only metal-industry publications. To protect their profit margin, scrap-metal dealers rarely publish the price they pay per pound of scrap metal. Prices they pay vary with the international scrap-metal price on the stock market. By checking the international scrap-metal prices, you can assess if a scrap dealer is offering a fair price for your household goods. Note: International scrap metal prices on the stock exchange are broken down by type of metal. Copper, ore, non-ore metals, steel and aluminium prices may all be listed individually. Additionally, prices vary based on the international market and the country in which you reside.

  5. 5

    Call scrap metal dealers and ask about pickup or drop-off services. If you're selling a junk car, many dealers will charge a nominal fee or will deduct the fee from the final payment. If possible, transport the scrap metal to the dealer yourself.

Tips and warnings

  • Some states, such as South Carolina, have proposed legislation to outlaw cash payment for scrap metal. If you live in a state where scrap-metal payments are illegal, decide if travelling to an adjacent state is worth the expense and effort.
  • If selling scrap metal to a dealer is illegal in your state, take it to a recycling centre and consider alternative sources of holiday cash.

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