How Much Is Scrap Metal Worth?

How Much Is Scrap Metal Worth?

Scrap metal is worth whatever you can manage to sell it for. But how much can you manage to sell it for? That’s the question.

Scrap metal — there’s so much of it lying around and it can be very valuable. Take a walk down a city block and take notice of the different metal things you come across — discarded cans, old car parts, etc. Everything made of metal has some value. Even the smallest piece of metal can earn you money at the scrap yard, and even though a single aluminum can may be worth fractions of a penny, a big load of aluminum cans really starts to add up.

The fact is that metal is heavy. It won’t take you long to get together a big haul of metal — 50 pounds of even the lightest metal does not take long to gather. Once a person learns how to collect scrap metal, they can quickly pick up a couple hundred pounds of it from the side of the road.

How Do I Find Scrap Metal?

Scrap Metal Values, Prices, and RatesCurbside piles on trash day are a great place to start your metal scrapping. Car batteries, pieces of gutter, bed springs, pipes, copper tubing, chain, and anything made of metal should be your target. Keep your eyes peeled on trash day and you could have money in your pocket before you know it.

If you call your local trash collection center you can figure out what day they pick up “bulk junk” from the roadside. Once you learn the schedule, simply drive around the nieghborhood early on bulk pickup day and examine your neighbor’s junk piles — you will find more scrap metal than you expect.

If you really want to start a career in scrap metal recycling, you could make a small business for yourself out of picking up hard to get rid of metals for local businesses. When businesses want to get rid of unwieldy metal trash, they tend to want rid of it immediately and will even pay you a little bit to haul off their junk. This is a good way to pick up old hot water heaters, boilers, air conditioning units, and the like.

Simply telling people that you’re looking for old junk they want rid of can be lucrative — most homes have junk metal items they want to get rid of but don’t know how to. Remember that anything made of any metal is worth money to you.

Where Do I Sell My Scrap Metal?

Okay, so you’ve got a little pile of scrap and now you want to get paid. Scrap metal dealers are your first target — look them up in the phone-book  Search under “scrap metal”, “scrap metal dealers”, “recycling”, etc. Most of these dealers will buy any metal items like copper or iron, but they’re also interested in the more rare metals too. If you find a load of tungsten or chromium, you can make a pretty penny at the scrap metal dealer. If you don’t have a scrap metal dealer in your area, try the junk yard. Usually located near the city dump, junk yards will often pay you for your scrap.

How Much Is Each Metal Worth? Scrap metal Values and Prices

Aluminum Prices – Aluminum is a very lightweight metal that tends to be a dull silver color. Sometimes you may think you have a load of aluminum, but what you really have is the even more valuable metal magnesium. Both are dull silver and lightweight. Magnesium is lighter, more flexible, and less stable than aluminum, and it is more valuable when it comes to scraping. Aluminum and magnesium are commonly used in car trim, hand rails, gutters, ladders, and lawn furniture, not to mention soda and beer cans. Aluminum can be worth from 0.60 to 0.85 $, while magnesium is usually worth more.

Iron Values – Iron is easy to find because it is magnetic. If you touch a pile of scrap metal with a magnet, anything that is iron will either be attracted to the magnet or will stick to it. Iron is very heavy and it rusts quickly. Different car parts, pipes, and other industrial equipment are made of iron. If you can find a load of iron, you’re a lucky scrapper.  The prices vary, depending on what type of iron material you have. Generally, the price of iron per pound is not very high, but since iron is heavy, you can earn a decent sum of money.

Stainless Steel Rates – Stainless steel contains iron but it is non magnetic. Rarely, a piece of stainless may be slightly magnetic, but that’s all you’re gonna get. Stainless is really heavy and has a dull shine to it. You can find stainless steel in car parts, beer kegs, old water heaters, etc. Stainless fetches from 0.42 $ per pound.

Lead Prices – Lead is heavy, soft, and dull gray. If you find a lot of old plumbing equipment, you’ve probably got a load of lead. Lead will earn you 0.60 $ a pound.

Copper Prices – You can tell copper on sight because of its distinctive red color. In time, red copper will turn green from exposure to moisture, so be on the lookout for green metal, too. Copper is classified in several categories, but unless you’re a metal dealer you won’t know the difference. Copper can earn you between 1 and 2.95 $  a pound.

Brass Prices – Brass is distinctively yellow and is often used as a substitute for gold. Since brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, it can be very valuable. From low pressure plumbing tools to sink drains and household fixtures, brass is relatively easy to find, especially around demolition sites. Brass can earn 1.80 $ a pound.

Car Battery Values – One of the most common pieces of junk, and a valuable one at that. Any junk dealer will gladly take your old car batteries. Yes, they can be toxic if they aren’t disposed of properly, but they are still recyclable. A car batter can earn between 40 cents and $5 per battery.

Recycling scrap metal is very popular these days and few realize just how profitable it can be. Finding and selling scrap metal is like hunting for treasure, and after you make your first bit of pocket change you could be hooked.

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8 thoughts on “How Much Is Scrap Metal Worth?

  1. Mark

    Alot of your prices are wrong for the new york area, we get more than what you said for most things, ex. Car batteries going for 8 dollars at this day, and i never recieved less than 6.

  2. Jay Sax

    Buyers in the Colorado Springs, Colorado, area are paying 9-11 cents per pound for scrap iron – several times as much as you note in this post.

  3. tom manzo

    old car batteries currently selling for .28 cents a lb.for an average battery about $11.00

  4. Terry

    Just called a scrap yard and they are only wanting to give 50 cents a pound for 5052 alum and 55 cents for cans. I asked why they are low balling and they said they weren’t and that their online prices show that’s all it’s worth. After checking myself they are about 30 cents low from what I should get. My point is to be careful of these people. It’s often shaky people in that business and there is a lot of liars out there to rip yo off.

  5. RJ

    Hey Tom….
    just curious, was that a New York price you gave and also if so, who do you use and about what are they getting today for the junk batteries? Thanks!!

    RJ

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