What if you could make a little extra money on the side while doing something good for the planet? With scrap metal recycling, you can! All you have to do is bring your unwanted scrap metal to a scrap metal recycler, and they’ll pay you in cash. Some companies will even come to you and haul the scrap away.
You may have heard that recycling consumes just as much energy as it saves. While it’s true that it costs energy to run the trucks that transport recycling and to melt down metal so it can be turned into new products, these costs are outweighed by the energy savings. In fact, recycling aluminum cans takes only 4% of the energy required to manufacture them from raw materials.
Thus, recycling metal is a simple way to earn extra cash and benefit the environment. If you would like some tips for increasing your profits when recycling scrap metal, read on for a helpful guide.
Choose Non-Ferrous Metals
Scrap metal comes in two forms: ferrous and non-ferrous. The difference between these classes is that ferrous metal contains iron, while non-ferrous metal does not. Ferrous metals, such as gold and silver, tend to be bigger and bulkier than non-ferrous ones. They are also rarer.
If you want to get the most money from recycling scrap, you should focus on non-ferrous metals. Here are some examples of non-ferrous metal and where you might find it:
- Aluminum. This type of metal is commonly found in soda cans, pots and pans, siding, gutters and window frames.
- Brass. You can find brass in locks, valves, door knockers, doorknobs and other hardware.
- Copper. Insulated copper wiring is a great source of copper; however, it must be in good condition (not burned) to sell as scrap.
- Stainless steel. Stainless steel is commonly used in appliances like dishwashers, fridges and washing machines.
- Zinc. Metal roofing panels are an excellent source of zinc. Other good sources are car parts and household appliances.
Your scrap metal recycler can give you more ideas on where to find large sources of metal.
Understand the Different Grades
If you show up at your scrap metal recycling center with insulated copper wire, you may be surprised when you get less money back than you’d anticipated. The thing to understand is that not all copper is made equal in the eyes of scrap metal recyclers.
Different metals come in different grades, and insulated copper wire is only graded as #2. That means you’ll get less money per pound of it than you would with grade #1 copper, which is clean copper wire.
Clean and Sort Your Scrap Metal
The metal’s grade isn’t the only way recyclers determine its value. They also look at the condition. Since scrap metal recyclers pay cash per pound of metal and different types of metal are worth different amounts, you’ll make a lot more money if you clean and separate you metals before selling them.
Cleaning scrap metal means more than just scrubbing them in warm, soapy water. Rather, cleaning scrap means removing any extra pieces from the metal. For instance, you could strip the coating off insulated copper wires to increase the grade. Similarly, if you brought in an aluminum pot with a plastic handle, you’d want to remove the handle first.Once you have cleaned all your scrap metal, use boxes or bins to keep the metal separated for easy sorting at the recycling collection site. Sikora Metals in Detroit, Michigan, provides containers for this purpose. We are also happy to offer you the current rates for different metals; call us to learn more.