No, you don’t have to the Midas touch to turn scrap metal into gold.
Scrap metal recycling is a big business. And if you know what are the most profitable items to scrap, you can make decent money.
In fact, the market for scrap metal recycling is expected to hit $29.9 billion in 2020, an increase of 3.2% from last year!
Well, you’re in the right place!
Here are the eight most profitable scrap metals!
Selling Scrap Metal for Cash: The Basics
There are a couple of key pieces of information to know before we you get started selling scrap metal.
Prices can fluctuate
Here is one key thing to remember before we start with our list.
These prices are current as of the writing of this article.
Keep in mind the prices you see listed here are NOT set in stone.
Just like the price of a stock, a barrel of oil, or a gallon of milk, these prices can and will change.
They can vary significantly month to month, week to week, even day to day.
So, before you take a haul of scrap metal it’s probably best to double check the price before you go.
If the price has dropped and is lower than you would like, just set it aside and wait for the price to rise again.
You can check the most current prices of common scrap metals here.
There are two different categories of Scrap Metal
Another key thing to keep in mind before you go to a scrap yard near you is there are two categories of scrap metal.
- Ferrous (magnetic)
- & Non-Ferrous (not magnetic)
When it comes to items with high scrap value, as a general rule, the non-ferrous get higher prices than the ferrous.
How can you tell the difference between the two?
It’s easy, just get a magnet.
If the magnet sticks to the metal, it’s ferrous.
If it doesn’t it’s non-ferrous.
“Clean” metals get more money
When we say clean, we don’t necessary mean free from dirt.
What this mean is the metal is free of any non-metal items (like plastic).
So, in order to maximize your profit you will want to separate the metal from any non-metals.
And then sort the metals by type.
You’ll end up getting more money by doing a little extra work.
Shop around with different Scrap Yards
Every savvy shopper knows to shop around before you buy an item.
The same principle applies here.
Call around to the different scrap yards in your area and see who offers the best price for the scrap metals you have.
If they’re all about the same, then go with the closest to your home.
If one offers significantly better prices, go with them.
You never want to leave money on the table.
And with these words of advice out of the way, let’s get on with the list.
Best Items to Scrap for Money: Non-Ferrous Metals
Since the non-ferrous are the most profitable, we’ll start there.
Copper is the metal that will get you the biggest bang for your buck.
#1 bare bright copper wire will get you $1.95 per pound.
While #1 copper tubing will get you $1.73 per pound, #2 copper tubing will get $1.58 per pound, and insulated copper wire will get $0.44 per pound.
There are a lot of things to scrap around the house. You’ll find copper in pipes, AC parts, electrical wiring, and circuits.
So don’t throw away those old Christmas lights that no longer work!
To make money selling scrap copper, take the copper wiring, collect enough to make a good profit, and take to the scrap yard for some cash.
Brass is another non-ferrous metal that can get you some money.
Brass is currently going for just under $1.00 per pound.
And if you’re a hunter or like to go to the shooting range on the weekend, brass shells are going for $0.78 per pound.
You can also find brass in keys, light fixtures, and faucets.
We encounter or use aluminum cans on a daily basis.
But you should think twice before throwing that soft drink can in the recycling bin.
Collect them and take them to the scrap yard for cash.
Aluminum cans are going for about $0.25 per pound right now.
And if you or someone you know is addicted to Diet Coke, this can net you some decent money.
Also, aluminum siding is going for $0.19 per pound and aluminum radiators are going for $0.20 per pound.
You can also find aluminum in window frames, bicycles, and roofing materials.
Common Ferrous Metals
These metals won’t get the returns like the others we’ve mentioned so far.
But some money is better than none.
And if you accumulate enough over time, you may be surprised with what you end up making.
As far as the ferrous metals go, iron will get you the most money.
But you have to collect a lot for it to be cost effective.
Cast iron is going for $103 per ton, and light iron will get you $78 per ton.
You can find iron in household appliances like washing machines, lawn furniture, and items like lawn mowers.
And to get this to the scrap yard you may need to borrow a friend’s truck or rent a van.
5. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel will likely get you one of the lowest returns per pound.
Right now, stainless steel is going for $0.18 per pound while steel BX is going for $0.12 per pound.
So it will take a lot for it to be cost effective.
You can find steel in cars and most appliances.
But, as you’ll see later in this story, there may be a better way to get a return for the steel in your old car.
Other Common Items You Can Scrap
In addition to the metals listed above, there are other common items you can take to the scrap yard and make some money.
And these are probably items you have around the house or you see on the curb in your neighborhood.
6. Computer Parts
Do you have an old, out-of-date computer just sitting around taking up space and collecting dust?
If so, take it apart and take the parts to the scrap yard for some cash!
Hard drives can get $0.30 per pound.
A PC tower will get you about $0.11 per pound.
And motherboards will fetch about $0.80 per pound.
So be on the lookout for old computers on the curbside, pick them up, take them apart, and get some cash for those parts!
7. You can scrap your own car or car parts for cash!
Do you have an old, beaten-up car just sitting in your driveway?
Does it cost you more to keep the thing running than the thing is actually worth?
And is it so old and beaten up that no one will buy it?
If so, then just scrap it!
You might be able to get more money than you think.
As of this writing, taking your car to the scrap yard will get you $95 per ton.
And according to Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, the average car weighs about 1.5 tons, and your standard truck is about 3 tons.
So you could easily turn that old car in your driveway into a couple hundred dollars easily.
Also, individual car parts can be taken to the scrapyard and exchanged for cash.
Car batteries get $0.17 per pound.
Alternators go for about $0.10 per pound.
Meanwhile aluminum rims will get you about $0.34 per pound.
Catalytic converters contain platinum or palladium (depending on manufacturer) and scrapping one will be worth $50-$100.
So if you a person who likes to work on their car, you can easily make some extra money taking your old parts to the scrap yard.
Other things to scrap around the house
You can probably find other items to take to the scrapyard for profit after doing some Spring cleaning or some remodeling of your house.
8. Power Supplies
Power supplies (batteries) will get you $0.10 per pound.
Ballasts will get you $0.80 per pound.
10. Aluminum Siding
And, as mentioned earlier, aluminum siding will get you $0.19 per pound.
Keep this in mind after you do some work on your house.
So be on the lookout for discarded items.
While you’re out driving, be on the lookout for things people have thrown away.
Those items they’re throwing away you could break down and trade in for a nice profit.
Old appliances, computers, building materials, and lawn furniture can be scrapped for a nice little sum.
And check out construction sites.
If they have any leftover materials, ask if you can take it.
And if they say yes, then take that unused copper wire or aluminum siding to the scrap yard to trade in for cash.
One Person’s Trash Really is Another Person’s Treasure!
You might not think much of a pile of scrap metal.
It may look like nothing more than a pile of trash.
But a savvy person like yourself knows that discarded pile of trash can be your treasure!
So now that you know what scrap metal is worth the most money, take that pile of scrap metal and turn it into a nice little profit!