Selling Scrap Metal

Selling Scrap Metal

By Erin Huffstetler | 04/18/2013 | 4 Comments

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The best kind of decluttering is the kind that you get paid for. My husband just took a truckload of scrap metal over to a recycling center (mostly stuff that was pulled out of the house during recent renovations), and he came back with $62.75. Not too shabby!

Here’s how that broke down:

  • 29 lbs of aluminum siding at $.50/lb = $14.50
  • 32 lbs of aluminum cans at $.50/lb = $16
  • 5 lbs of copper tubing at $2.40/lb = $12
  • 3 lbs of electric wiring at $1/lb = $3
  • (1) 13-lb alternator at $.15/lb = $1.95
  • 153 lbs of steel at $.10/lb = $15.30

How to Sell Scrap Metal

If you’ve never sold scrap metal before, here’s what you need to know:

  • Prices vary from scrapyard to scrapyard, so call a few to compare prices before you go
  • Some of the materials they’ll take may surprise you. Ask what they’re buying while you have them on the phone. One center here, for example, pays $.40/gallon for used motor oil. Who would have guessed?
  • Copper commands a real premium these days, and that’s led to a lot of copper thefts. To combat this, scrapyards are required to hold checks from copper sales for a certain number of days. Our local center will mail you the check when it’s been released, so it’s no biggie
  • To sell metal, you’ll have to provide a valid picture I.D., and you may be required to provide a fingerprint, too. Don’t be surprised, if they also write a description of your vehicle and your license plate number on the sales receipt. This helps police to prosecute scrap metal thieves, so it’s a good thing
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  1. Erin, this is an awesome post! Thanks for sharing. I have always wondered how much I could make by quitting my job and joining the scrap metal labor force 😉

    • Hi Cathie,

      They take it as is. The scrappers in our area will cut the cord off of anything electronic that you leave in a curb pile.


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