The best ways to scrap metal & make profit

Updated April 17, 2017

Scrap metals such as copper, aluminium, cast iron and tin can be delivered to scrap yards in the boot of a car if a pickup truck is not available. Each type of metal should be kept in separate tubs for easier sorting at the scrap metal salvage yard. Monitor the current prices of each type of metal so you'll know how much money to expect when you sell it.


Copper wire from old appliances and remodelled houses are the main sources of copper that is sold to recycling scrap yards. Clean copper usually brings a higher price. "Clean" copper means that any plastic coatings on the wire have been stripped or burnt off. Some old automotive parts such as starters have copper wire cores that can be removed. Discarded copper tubing from plumbing jobs and old copper tubing that has been replaced by another type of plumbing pipe can be included in the copper scrap. Copper tubing should be cut or bent into pieces 1 or 2 feet in length.


Everything from old aluminium boats to torn pieces of aluminium siding can be profitable. Many old screen doors and window screen frames are made of aluminium. Collecting soft drink and beer cans is the number-one source of aluminium for recycling. Flattening each can saves space. Machines that flatten cans are available for purchase so that you can flatten each one manually. Radiators from old vehicles are also aluminium that can be recycled.

Cast Iron and Steel

Many automobile engine parts are cast iron. Unused and inoperable parts should be included in the scrap metal. Old appliances such as driers and washing machines can be sold for scrap. Refrigerators and stoves can be loaded and taken in for scrap. The Freon should be removed from refrigerators. The wiring in dryers, refrigerators, stoves, and washers usually have some plastic-coated copper or other metals that can be separated.

Other Scrap Metal

Older homes and farms in rural areas may have an area that contains old trashed appliances or even farm equipment. Unless you are able to transport the entire piece of equipment, it will have to be taken apart and loaded on a pick up truck piece by piece. Old tin roofing from sheds and barns may have to be cut with tin snips, which are large scissors for cutting metal. Other types of saws can be used and a hacksaw would be useful.

Cell Phones and Computers

Scrap yards also take cell phones and computer units. Odds and ends parts are also accepted. Computer towers contain mother boards, sound cards, modem and video cards, which are recycled. Laptop parts are also valuable. Other parts of the computer connectors contain gold and gold-plated pins and other components that have monetary value. Cell phones, whether they work or not, are worth money. They also contain circuit boards; they're just smaller than ones from a computer.

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About the Author

Gracie Sprouse has been writing professionally since 1976. Her areas of expertise are in antiques, crafts, real estate, income taxes and small businesses. Her education consists of an Associate of Applied Science with a business and accounting major from Piedmont Virginia Community College.