How to make money from scrap metal

Written by maria o'brien
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With metal prices at an all-time high in most parts of the country, this is a great time to make money from scrap metal. The current boom in recycled metal far exceeds the scrap metal drives of World War II. The present interest is being driven by events overseas. It isn’t primarily a war, this time, but the industrial boom of the Far East that is causing high metal prices. You can profit from the rise in world commodity markets now--if it’s made of metal and you’re not using it, turn it into cash.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Check out all the local recycling centres. Prices vary widely. Get prices for the kind of steel (cold rolled, for example) that you have. Do not rely on what you were told even in the recent past. Prices have gone up steadily for several years and are expected to continue to increase.

  2. 2

    Separate your most valuable metals: stainless steel, brass and aluminium from your general metal. You will want to have these lots weighed and priced individually. Aluminium with bits of steel too hard to remove should be separated from pure aluminium so as not to bring down the price of the whole lot. Similarly, copper wire with plastic sheath should be separated from your pure copper. All metal will be accepted for recycling, you just want to get the best possible price.

  3. 3

    Bring in the title on any car less than 10 years old. Older vehicles (especially if they are damaged or have been parted out) are generally accepted even without a title.

  4. 4

    Be creative in finding sources of metal: junk cars and old tools are obvious sources. Fencing, bed frames, campers, radiators, appliances--even old refrigerators, porch furniture, cooking pots and pans, utensils, candlesticks, fishing weights, boats, old gutters and siding all contain recyclable metal.

  5. 5

    Pay attention when your vehicle is being weighed and double check your final ticket to be sure you are given the correct ticket. With the boom in business, many recycling centres are processing so many truckloads that you can wind up with someone else’s weigh ticket if you aren’t paying attention.

Tips and warnings

  • Part out old cars before recycling (sell usable parts for money) and be sure to remove any good tires after you get to the recycling centre.
  • Avoid trying to recycle anything that has the appearance of having been stolen. Unfortunately, thieves have been spurred on by the high prices also. Generally, if an item is still usable, it has greater value for its use than for scrap. Trying to sell rolls of good copper wire will likely result in a call to the local police.

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