Collecting scrap metal can be an enjoyable and rewarding endeavor. Whether you’re in it for the money or just as a hobby, there are some scrap metal tips and tricks that can help you maximize your efforts. This article will discuss five of the best scrap metal tips & tricks to help you find more scrap metal and maximize your value.

Top 5 Tips For Finding Scrap Metal and Maximizing Value

Best Place

1. Consider the Best Places to Find Scrap Metal

The first tip (and one of the most important) in scrap metal collection is to consider where you’re searching for scrap metal.

Your Home

A lot of common household items have precious recyclable metals in them – from pressure cookers, to electrical wires and pipe fittings, to light strips and more.

You’d be surprised at how much more you can get by sending them to your local scrap yard instead of reselling them. Just look hard and you’ll find them.

Old or broken appliances, in particular, are an excellent source of recyclable metals. Air conditioners, dishwashers, freezers, and washing machines have them in spades. Other home appliances may look plain broken on the outside but their unseen parts can contain expensive materials. Disassemble them first before handing them over.

After rummaging through your home, you may have a tough time finding other pieces of scrap. Such is often the case when you’re starting out. To make sure you have a steady supply of recyclable metal, check out these locations in your community.

Apartment Complexes

Apartment buildings can be a consistent source of scrap metal. Grab a map of your community, find these locations, and approach the maintenance officer in charge. Ask them to let you know if they need to dispose of any metal trash, and be sure to leave a business card.

Local Business Hubs

Businesses, regardless of the size, will throw away valuable materials at one point. A retailer might get rid of damaged shopping carts. Offices may upgrade their PCs. When that happens, you want them (or the facility or office manager) to call you to move the trash.

Construction Sites

Scrapping from a construction site can prove to be very profitable. Know that you need permission from the contractor before getting started. Some construction companies sell their scrap themselves, and you don’t want them accusing you of theft.

Auto Repair Shops

While these shops may not turn over all of their scrap to you, the dumpsters nearby can have auto parts full of recyclable metal. Some dumpster owners may not appreciate you going through their junk, while others won’t mind. Again, be sure to ask for permission.


2. Learn How to Sort Scrap Metal Appropriately

Many collection yards prefer and even pay extra for prepared scraps. These have been trimmed down to size and have no extra attachments or coverings. This makes the yard’s job easier.

While they may still accept copper wiring with insulating material in place, removing it is in your best interest. Do the same for any other material on the surface of the scrap like bolts, nails caps and more.

Next, remember that metals have different grades and different types of metals will be worth different amounts.

For example, copper has 2 varieties. The first variety has nothing covering it – No alloys, coating, nor insulation. Almost the entire weight of the scrap is copper. This option commands a higher price than the alternative, whose weight is only 95% copper due to a tin finish, plating, or other impurities.

Sort the pieces of scrap according to their grade. We’ve already mentioned separating your pile according to metal type. To get more value out of your hard work, you ought to take this extra step.


3. Protect Your Excess Scrap

If you plan to store your scrap in a garage or shed, keep the place secure by using a good quality lock or security system. If you plan to collect scrap metal full-time, the investment is more than worth it.

Scrap thieves may come with bolt and lock cutters, so don’t hesitate to use multiple locks and chains.

If you live in a place where incidents of scrap theft run high, consider storing your scrap in a storage facility. Using a storage unit comes with a monthly price, but the 24/7 surveillance, security staff, and controlled access ensure your junk/valuables won’t go missing.

Metal Scrap

4. Know Your Local Metal Scrap Yards

To unlock the cash in your scrap, you need to locate scrap yards and recycling sites nearby. This is critical when it comes to selling scrap metal. Start by visiting your state government’s website for a directory of scrap yards. From there, you can start building relationships and growing your network by working with the scrap yards regularly.

You can also use tools like the iScrap App, which lists current metal prices, scrap yards, and metal recyclers in the US and Canada. Lastly, you can use an online nationwide directory like Earth911 to aid you in your search.

It’s best to find multiple scrap yards and build relationships with the staff at each. See which of them offers the most competitive prices and the best customer service.

5. Follow Safety Protocols

Do not forget to protect yourself and the environment while collecting scrap. Wear protective gear like gloves, boots and safety glasses. These will keep you safe from any sharp objects that could pierce your skin or contaminate you with hazardous materials.

Also make sure to do your research on local laws and regulations regarding scrap collection and recycling. Every city or state has different guidelines, so stay informed and be sure to follow them for your own security.

Wrapping Up – Tips & Tricks for Finding Scrap Metal

Finding and selling scrap metal can be a profitable venture, but you need to do your research first. Take the time to learn who’s buying what type of material and learn how to sort metals according to grade.

Think ahead about what you plan to do with excess scrap. Securing your scrap metal with good locks and chains could save you a lot of money and effort. Finally, wear protective gear when working and be sure to review local laws and regulations regarding the collection of scrap metal. Scrapping can be a very profitable venture if taken seriously. Hopefully these tips for finding scrap metal help save you time and increase your profits.


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