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How to sell scrap metal

There is money to be made with the sale of scrap metal, and much of it can be found kerbside. Junkyards and salvage yards pay cash to those savvy enough to reap the benefits. Staking a claim on scrap that others have tossed away may not sound lucrative, but gathering enough can help you turn a hefty profit.

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  1. Start by picking up any scrap metal you see while driving down the road. Highways and other public roads will provide you with a multitude of pipes, hubcaps, metal bumpers and other items. Not to mention the aluminium cans that are also recyclable.

  2. Increase your scrap metal sales by finding out when bulk trash day is in towns and neighbourhoods. This is the best time to find scrap metal, especially after a homeowner has just completed a massive spring cleaning. Microwave ovens and air conditioners will make you some bucks, as will metal shelving and tool boxes.

  3. Advertise in the local newspaper. Providing free pickup and removal of oversized items such as stoves and refrigerators, can make you money when you bring these items to the salvage yard. Potential customers will thank you for saving them the hassle of dispose of these items themselves. However, you will need a vehicle large enough for transport.

  4. Visit the trash sites of your local municipalities, but ask permission first. In most cases, you will be granted permission to rummage through.

  5. Carry some tools with you at all times. Having a hacksaw, some screwdrivers and wrenches can help out when you are not equipped to carry off a large item. But the copper fittings and metal piping in some of these items may be worth salvaging.

  6. Bring the salvaged scrap metal to the junkyard and collect your cash. You can recycle the scrap piece by piece or in bulk. Either way will make you money, but how just how much will depend on the amount that you are able to collect.

  7. Tip

    When checking out a trash pile, you may want to keep an eye out for other types of items that may be of value to you. People will throw out just about anything and may not realise that they have tossed out something valuable. These items have the possibility of making you money at auctions, flea markets and even eBay.


    Use caution when looking through trash sites as sharp items and other hazards may be present. And don't carry off anything that may be too heavy for you to handle. Asking someone to help you and split the profits.

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Things You'll Need

  • Latest prices for recycled scrap metal
  • Local junkyard
  • Large vehicle to accommodate bulky items
  • Tools
  • Newspaper advertisement

About the Author

Jonae Fredericks started writing in 2007. She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system.

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