You could just load up the truck with scrap metal, pull up to the closest scrap yard, and cross your fingers they’ll pay you a fair rate, but how do you know for sure that you’re getting the best price for your sweat equity?
First, you should use our handy scrap yard near me locator, second, get educated on current metal types and prices, and third, gather up all of the high-value scrap metal you can find and head to your local scrapyard.
PS. Always be willing to haggle.
Highest Paying Scrap Yard Near Me
Use the zip code locator below to find scrap yards in your area. Your search results will show in Google maps.
TIP: You may need to enable pop-ups for the maps to show.
Scrap metal prices 2022
Check the chart below for 2022 scrap metal prices (*national average updated 05/07/22).
Download the iScrap App for the latest prices, as prices change often.
|Insulated Copper Wire||$1.00/lb|
|#2 Copper Tubing||$3.10/lb|
|Bare Bright Copper||$3.60/lb|
|Electric Motors (Aluminum)||$0.21/lb|
|Electric Motors (Copper)||$0.30/lb|
|Non-Magnetic Stainless Steel||$0.78/lb|
|E-Scrap (typically priced @ Light Iron)||$175.00/ton|
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What is scrap metal?
Simply put, scrap metal consists of products made up of waste metals, metallic materials, and any product that can be recycled as a result of previous usage or product manufacturing.
When you think of scrap metal most people picture piles of scrap cars, discarded building materials, or aluminum cans.
And, while these materials are indeed all scrap metals, it’s important to know that not all scrap metal is the same in terms of value.
There are three main types of scrap metals: ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal, and eScrap.
Non-ferrous metals, such as copper, brass, aluminum, zinc, magnesium, tin, lead, and nickel are the most valuable scrap metals for recycling.
How does a scrap yard work?
Scrap yards function as scrap metal recycling centers. They buy scrap metals from individuals and businesses and pay them by the pound for their scrap.
The amount scrap yards pay varies based on what type of scrap metal they’re buying.
For example, scrap yards will pay more for scrap metals that are in short supply, such as scrap aluminum and copper wires.
Related: Find a Clean, Safe, and Affordable Laundromat Near Me
How to sell scrap metal for money
- Before going to the scrap yard, identify, sort, and prepare your metal.
- Call the scrap yard and compare their going rates (negotiate if necessary).
- When you arrive at the scrap yard, pull your vehicle/trailer up on the inbound (pressure) scale.
- Workers will use either a magnetic crane (to separate ferrous from non-ferrous), or a forklift to remove the metal from your truckbed or flatbed trailer.
- Show your ID, sign some paperwork, and get paid via check or onsite ATM.
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Factors that affect the price of scrap metal
Three factors that affect the price of scrap metal are type, weight, and demand for metals.
The type of scrap metal is the most important factor to consider because some metals are in short supply and are harder to manufacture.
The weight of scrap metal is important because it affects how much money scrap yards will pay for each pound of scrap metal. For example, the scrap yard will pay less for one pound of tin scraps than it does for one pound of copper scraps.
Scrap metal prices fluctuate constantly according to overall supply and demand. The higher the demand for a particular metal, the higher the price for scrap.
Scrap metal scrap yards usually post a scrap price chart which customers can consult in order for the current scrap metal rates.
Scrap metal items you can sell at a scrap yard
As stated previously, there are 3 main types of scrap metals.
- Non-Ferrous-Metals and alloys which do not contain iron
- Ferrous-Metals containing iron
- eScrap-Recycleable electronic materials
While non-ferrous metals are considered to be the most valuable metals, if you’re willing to put in some time and effort, you can make money selling ferrous and eScrap as well.
used in wiring, heating systems, refrigerant lines, hot and cold water pipes
locks, hinges, gears, ammunition casing, valves, horns, bells
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cans, foils, kitchen utensils, window frames, siding
coat other metals to prevent corrosion as in cans for food storage
pots and pans, anchor for ships
pipes, fences, bolts, chains
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building framework, tools, cars, appliances, weapons
magnetic storage device for a computer
central brain of computer
Best things to scrap for money
If you’re looking to make money by recycling metal, keep in mind that some substances are worth more than others. Furthermore, the values vary frequently, so what you received for it previously may not be the same as what you may get today.
The best metals to scrap for cash are copper, brass, and aluminum.
The most expensive (and highly coveted) scrap metal is copper.
So, before you throw out that can, check out how much money you could make by selling it (and its friends) at your local scrap yard.
Related: Consignment Stores Near Me (Tips to Selling)
Difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals
Ferrous metals are less valuable to metal recyclers but they can still bring a profit if you have enough of them. Metals like iron and steel are included in this group.
Non-ferrous metals are the most valuable recyclable metals, with copper, brass, aluminum, zinc, magnesium, tin, lead, and nickel being the most popular.
How much you can earn by recycling depends on what type of scrap metal you have and how much of it you have.
PRO TIP: If a magnet sticks to the metal, it’s ferrous, therefore, it will be less valuable for scrap.
Here are the top 3 most valuable (non-ferrous) metals you should look out for next time you’re remodeling or cleaning up the yard:
Aluminum has a high resell value, especially aluminum soda cans because they can be easily crushed into bundles. So, while you may think that all the effort it takes to recycle is not worth your while, remember that recycling just 6 aluminum cans will earn you enough money to buy 1 glass of soda… It’s well worth it!
You can find aluminum in:
- Metal siding
- Car parts
- Household appliances (large and small)
- Aluminum foil/trays
Next to aluminum, brass is one of the best-selling scrap metals around… It contains both copper and zinc — making for an excellent bronze substitute — so remember to check your recycling bin next time you’re looking for some extra cash! And, to make things even easier, brass items also come in several different forms. Those include:
- Plumbing fixtures
- Ammunition casings
- Doorknobs and hinges
- Handles and railings
3. Copper pipe and fittings
Copper has become increasingly popular in recent years, and therefore its price has gone up quite a bit.
Copper pipe is an excellent source for recycling. Piping is one of the most popular metal items to recycle because it’s easy to transport and collect. It’s also easy to cut into pieces, making it perfect for reselling.
Some common household items that contain copper include TVs, computer towers and monitors, refrigerators, stoves, toasters, hot water heater storage tanks, Christmas lights (wiring), and of course, plumbing pipes and fittings.
Tips to get more cash for your scrap metal
NEVER just show up at the nearest scrap metal yard with a bucket (or truckload) of random scrap metal and accept the first price they offer.
There are two key tips when it comes to selling scrap metal:
- Be willing to do a little work ahead of time.
- Be prepared to haggle.
Sort your metal by type and place it in labeled containers. If you skip this important step, the scrap yard will pay you according to the least-valuable metal in the (mix) container. You could potentially miss out on hundreds of dollars.
Know the current going rate for scrap metal, and if possible, wait until prices are on their way up. Then, when you show up at the scrapyard, be ready to bargain (within reason) for the best payout for your scrap metal.
Not all local scrap yards pay the same for scrap metal. In fact, you may discover that smaller scrap yards will offer you more for your metal than larger yards.
Scrapyard near me FAQ
Are magnets worth money?
Magnets are generally used to tell the difference between metals, not for making bank.
Generally, magnets aren’t worth anything unless they are rare earth magnets, but even then scrap yards only buy them from whole appliances. If you have a scrap yard nearby, you can always give them a call to see if they purchase scrap metal with magnets attached.
How much is a dryer worth in scrap?
Due to the fact that scrap prices for washers and dryers are based on the weight of the appliance, on average, you can expect to earn between $8-$10 for a 100-pound-dryer.
That said, scrap metal pricing can vary greatly depending on the scrapyard where you take your dryer. For example, scrap yards in larger cities like Chicago and Los Angeles generally pay higher prices than scrap yards based in more rural, smaller communities.
What appliances have the most copper?
When it comes to finding appliances that contain the most copper for scrap, you’ll want to seek out the oldest appliances you can find. This is because older appliances are more likely to contain copper wiring.
You can remove the copper coils from older refrigerators, air conditioners, washers, and dryers, and the copper wiring from older stoves, washers, and dryers. Just make sure you have a professional help you disassemble appliances that contain freon.
Is steel worth any money?
Stainless steel is worth decent money, however, regular steel generally isn’t worth the effort to scrap due to the fact that it’s the least-profitable scrap metals. Most scrap yards will pay between $.05-$.05 cents a pound for scrap steel, which is not very high compared to other scrap metals like copper and aluminum.
What’s the difference between a salvage yard and a scrap yard?
A salvage yard and a scrapyard are two different businesses.
The most significant distinction between the two is that scrap yards recycle metals and electronics for cash. While scrap yards will accept automobiles, salvage yards are in the business of parting-out vehicles and reselling those parts.
This means you’ll get a better price for an automobile at a salvage yard over taking it to a scrap yard.
What is escrap?
E-Scrap is scrap metal recycling of electronics, such as computer towers, cell phones, and DVD players. It’s important to note that not all scrap metal yards accept e-scrap.
What do I have to remove from appliances before scrapping them?
Appliances can usually be turned in as is, with the exception of anything that has a refrigeration system (refrigerators, freezers, andair conditioners). Most yards (but not all) require the compressors to be removed from these and the freon drained out.
To maximize your profits, you should at least remove the compressors and cut them open to retrieve the copper windings. Also, cut off the power cords (which contain copper wiring), and scrap those separately.
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- #1 Bare Bright Wire$2.40/lb. #1 Copper Tubing / Flashing$2.10/lb. ...
- Insulated Copper Wire (Cat 5/6)$0.62/lb. Romex® Wire$1.12/lb. ...
- Aluminum NA. ...
- Car Batteries$0.22-$0.26/lb. ...
- Car Batteries$0.22-$0.26/lb. ...
- Small Foreign Cat$82-$97/each. ...
- Steel $0.03-$0.05/lb. ...
- Clean Green Motherboards$1.15/lb.
1. Copper. Copper is one of the most valuable scrap items. Most scrap dealers will buy copper at a high price because it consistently generates high value.
In addition, local competition and processing methods affect the scrap metal costs. The demand for scrap metal is higher in warmer months and lower in colder months, which affects prices. Typically, the construction industry slows down during the winter months, which also lowers scrap demand.
A pound of brass is worth less than a pound of copper. But brass is dense, so if you have a lot of it in your scrap pile, it may be your most lucrative metal.
The average scrap value of a catalytic converter is between $300 and $1,500. This component is one of the most expensive parts of a vehicle because of the precious metals used in manufacturing it.
|Bare Bright Wire (stripped/shiny)||$2.90|
|#1 Tubing (clean tube/ clean fine wire)||$2.80|
|#2 Tubing (paint/solder/burnt wire)||$2.50|
|Tin Plated (wire/bus)||$2.50|
There are about 24 aluminum cans in a pound.
|Copper Spot Price||Spot Change|
|Copper Price per Pound||$3.58||-0.28%|
|Copper Price per Ounce||$0.22||-0.28%|
|Copper Price per Ton||$7,160.00||-0.28%|
While it may be the least valuable household scrap metal, what it lacks in price it makes up for in weight. This is why many scrappers won't pass up on cast iron. The cost per pound of this scrap metal can add up pretty fast, which makes it worth your while to bring it over to the recycling yard.
Refrigerators, stoves, and air conditioners in particular are great sources of copper as they require a larger power supply and therefore tend to contain thick insulated copper wire.
California – Difficult Scrap Metal Laws
By far one of the hardest states to scrap in due to the extremely tight restrictions on recycling.
|Material||Average Price||Price Unit|
|Al/Cu Reefers Scrap||0.86||USD/LB|
|Al/Cu Reefers Scrap w/ Fe||0.66||USD/LB|
|Material||Average Price||Price Unit|
|6061 Extrusions Scrap||0.48||USD/LB|
|ACSR Wire Scrap||0.1||USD/LB|
|E.C. Aluminum Wire Scrap||0.61||USD/LB|