Scrap yard near me locator and metal prices (2024)

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Looking to get the best cash value for your scrap metal? The solution: find a nearby scrap yard that offers top dollar for your items.

But how can you guarantee the best deal? Firstly, use the local scrap yard locator. Secondly, familiarize yourself with current metal rates. Lastly, gather all valuable scrap and head to the selected scrap yard for maximum returns.

Highest paying scrap yard near me

Scrap metal prices 2024

Metal prices fluctuate frequently. To help, we’ve gathered common metal categories in a list for your reference. Check out the table below to see the average national prices based on weight per pound or ton. To stay informed about the latest prices, you can use the iScrap App, which allows you to set notifications for any price adjustments.

MetalPrice
Insulated Copper Wire$0.84/lb
#2 Copper Tubing$2.73/lb
Sheet Aluminum$0.40/lb
Light Iron$142.77/ton
Aluminum Cans$0.47/lb
Cast Iron$198.93/ton
Bare Bright Copper$3.02/lb
Electric Motors (Aluminum)$0.14/lb
Electric Motors (Copper)$0.18/lb
Complete Car$183.00/ton
Plumbing Brass$1.75/lb
Car/Truck Batteries$0.15/lb
Dryers$143.66/ton
Dishwashers$147.32/ton
Non-Magnetic Stainless Steel$0.30/lb
Computer Wire$0.38/lb
Aluminum Siding$0.46/lb
Lead$0.46/lb
E-Scrap (typically priced @ Light Iron)$142.77/ton

What is scrap metal?

Scrap metal refers to discarded metal items or materials, like old cars, leftover construction supplies, or used aluminum cans, that can be recycled due to their previous use or production.

It includes various waste metals and metallic products. Not all scrap metal holds the same worth; there are three primary categories: ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal, and eScrap. Among these, non-ferrous metals like copper, brass, aluminum, and others carry the highest value for recycling purposes.

How does a scrap yard work?

Scrap yards operate as hubs for recycling scrap metal. Individuals and businesses bring in their scrap, getting paid by weight. The payment fluctuates depending on the metal type. Scarcer metals like aluminum and copper wires fetch higher prices due to their demand, nudging scrap yards to pay more for these materials.

How to sell scrap metal for money

Selling scrap metal for cash involves several steps:

First, before heading to the scrap yard, it’s crucial to identify, sort, and prepare your metal. This means separating different types of metal (ferrous and non-ferrous) and removing any contaminants like plastic or rubber.

Next, reach out to different scrap yards to compare their rates. If needed, negotiate the price to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Upon arrival at the scrap yard, drive your vehicle or trailer onto the inbound scale. This helps determine the weight of the metal you’re bringing in.

Workers at the yard will then use equipment like a magnetic crane or forklift to unload and sort the metal. The magnetic crane separates ferrous (magnetic) metals from non-ferrous ones.

After the metal is sorted and weighed, you’ll likely need to provide identification, sign the necessary paperwork, and then receive payment. Payment methods commonly include checks or using an onsite ATM for cash transactions.

Factors that affect the price of scrap metal

The price of scrap metal is influenced by three key factors: type, weight, and overall demand. The type of metal holds the greatest significance, with certain metals being scarce and more challenging to produce.

Weight plays a crucial role, directly impacting the payout from scrap yards; for instance, tin scraps fetch less per pound than copper scraps. Prices are in constant flux, determined by the broader supply and demand dynamics. Increased demand for a specific metal leads to higher scrap prices.

Scrap yards typically provide customers with readily available scrap price charts to keep them informed about the current rates.

Scrap metal items you can sell at a scrap yard

When it comes to selling items at a scrap yard, it’s crucial to be aware of the three primary categories: non-ferrous metals (lacking iron), ferrous metals (containing iron), and eScrap (recyclable electronic materials).

Although non-ferrous metals generally hold higher value, delving into the sale of ferrous and eScrap can also yield profits with dedicated time and effort.

MetalTypeUsage
Coppernon-ferrousused in wiring, heating systems, refrigerant lines, hot and cold water pipes
Brassnon-ferrouslocks, hinges, gears, ammunition casing, valves, horns, bells
Aluminumnon-ferrrouscans, foils, kitchen utensils, window frames, siding
Tinnon-ferrouscoat other metals to prevent corrosion as in cans for food storage
Cast Ironferrouspots and pans, anchor for ships
Wrought Ironferrouspipes, fences, bolts, chains
Steelferrousbuilding framework, tools, cars, appliances, weapons
Hard DriveseScrapmagnetic storage device for a computer
Cell PhoneseScrapentire device 
CPU chipseScrapcentral brain of computer

Best things to scrap for money

If you want to make top dollar through metal recycling, it’s crucial to recognize that some materials hold greater value than others. Metals like copper, brass, and aluminum fetch higher prices in the scrap market.

Copper, in particular, stands out as the most valuable and sought-after among them. Keep in mind that these values fluctuate, meaning what you earned earlier might not match current rates. Therefore, before discarding seemingly ordinary items like cans, consider their potential worth at your nearby scrap yard—you might be surprised by the cash they could bring in.

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Difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals

Ferrous metals, such as iron and steel, are generally less valuable for recycling but can still yield a profit in larger quantities. On the other hand, non-ferrous metals, including copper, brass, aluminum, zinc, magnesium, tin, lead, and nickel, are more sought after by recyclers and are considered the most valuable.

The potential earnings from recycling depend on the type and quantity of scrap metal you possess. A helpful tip: if a magnet sticks to the metal, it’s ferrous and likely to be less valuable for scrap purposes.

Top 3 most valuable (non-ferrous) metals you should look out for next time you’re remodeling or cleaning up the yard:

1. Aluminum

Aluminum holds a significant resale value, particularly aluminum soda cans, which can be effortlessly compacted into bundles. Despite initial skepticism about the effort involved in recycling, bear in mind that recycling just six aluminum cans can yield enough money to purchase a single glass of soda. This modest action proves financially worthwhile.

Common sources of aluminum include:

  • Metal siding
  • Cans
  • Car parts
  • Household appliances (both large and small)
  • Aluminum foil/trays
  • Bicycles

2. Brass

Brass is a sought-after scrap metal that ranks among the top sellers after aluminum. Comprising a blend of copper and zinc, it serves as a formidable alternative to bronze. When seeking additional funds, it’s worthwhile to inspect your recycling bin.

What’s convenient is that brass items vary in type, from plumbing fixtures and radiators to ammunition casings, doorknobs, hinges, handles, railings, bedframes, and lamps.

3. Copper pipe and fittings

Copper pipes and fittings have gained popularity in recent years, leading to a notable increase in their prices. The appeal of copper lies in its recyclability, particularly in the case of piping. Piping, being easily transportable and collectible, stands out as one of the most favored metal items for recycling. Its amenability to simple cutting into pieces further enhances its suitability for resale.

Copper is commonly found in various household items, including TVs, computer towers, monitors, refrigerators, stoves, toasters, water heater storage tanks, Christmas lights (wiring), and, notably, plumbing pipes and fittings.

Tips to get more cash for your scrap metal

To get the most cash for your scrap metal, never rush to the nearest scrap yard and settle for their initial offer. Here are two crucial strategies:

First, put in some effort upfront. Sort your metal by type and store it in clearly labeled containers. If you skip this step, the yard might pay you based on the least valuable metal in the mix, causing you to lose potential earnings.

Secondly, be ready to negotiate. Stay informed about current scrap metal rates and try to sell when prices are rising. When you visit the scrap yard, be prepared to haggle reasonably for a better payout.

Remember, not all scrap yards offer the same prices. Smaller yards might pay more than larger ones, so it’s worth exploring your local options for the best deal.

Are magnets worth money?

While magnets are valuable for distinguishing metals, they don’t hold much monetary worth on their own. Typically, only rare earth magnets have some value, and even then, scrap yards usually only accept them when they come from complete appliances.

If you’re curious about selling magnets, it’s advisable to check with a local scrap yard, but the overall financial return is often minimal.

How much is a dryer worth in scrap?

The monetary value of a dryer as scrap is determined by its weight. On average, a 100-pound dryer can fetch you approximately $8 to $10. However, it’s important to note that scrap metal prices can vary significantly depending on the specific scrapyard.

Larger cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles tend to offer higher payouts compared to scrap yards in smaller, rural communities.

What appliances have the most copper?

When looking for appliances with the highest copper content for recycling, focus on older ones. Older appliances often have more copper, especially in their wiring. Seek out older refrigerators, air conditioners, washers, and dryers as they may contain copper coils.

Additionally, older stoves, washers, and dryers might have copper wiring. It’s crucial to get professional assistance when dismantling appliances that contain freon.

Are refrigerators worth scrapping for metal?

Scrapping refrigerators for metal can be worthwhile, especially if you find a scrap yard that takes intact fridges. However, it’s essential to note that older refrigerators contain compressors with freon, a refrigerant.

Not all scrap yards accept fridges with freon still inside due to environmental concerns. Although it’s possible to hire someone to safely remove the freon, it involves adhering to stringent regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

These regulations mandate using a Section 608 certified technician for freon removal. The associated costs often offset any financial gains from selling the compressor separately, making scrapping refrigerators a less viable option in some cases.

Is steel worth any money?

Stainless steel holds decent value, but regular steel isn’t particularly valuable when it comes to recycling or scrapping. Scrap yards typically offer about 0.05 cents per pound for scrap steel. This value is relatively low compared to other metals such as copper and aluminum, making it less worthwhile to collect regular steel for profit.

What’s the difference between a salvage yard and a scrap yard?

A salvage yard and a scrapyard might seem alike, but they run on different tracks. The key difference? A scrap yard primarily deals with recycling metals and electronics in exchange for cash.

Although scrap yards do accept whole vehicles, salvage yards specialize in dismantling automobiles, selling individual parts, and reusing components. Consequently, opting for a salvage yard when selling a car often yields a higher price compared to taking it to a scrap yard.

What do I have to remove from appliances before scrapping them?

When scrapping appliances like washing machines, you typically don’t need to make any changes unless the appliance has a refrigeration system, as in refrigerators, freezers, or air conditioners.

For these, most scrapyards need you to take out the compressors and release the freon. To make the most money, it’s wise to remove the compressors, open them up to salvage the copper inside, and separate and scrap the power cords that contain copper wiring.

What is escrap?

E-scrap, short for electronic scrap, refers to recycling electronics like computer towers, cell phones, and DVD players. However, not all scrap metal yards will take e-scrap, so it’s crucial to find ones that do if you’re looking to recycle these items.

Why do scrap yards ask for ID?

Scrap yards ask for identification, like a photo ID, to prevent handling stolen metal. Police often check scrap yards for stolen metals. By collecting ID, they can track who brings in materials, helping resolve any concerns about ownership or origin if questions arise later on.

Do you have to pay taxes when selling scrap metal?

When you sell scrap metal, the IRS requires you to report the income. Whether it’s considered a business or a hobby determines how you report it on your taxes. If it’s a hobby, it goes on Form 1040, while business income is reported on Schedule C. Everyone who files a tax return must report all their income. Not everyone needs to file, though; use the IRS tool to check if you’re exempt.

Not reporting this income can lead to fines and penalties if caught, especially since scrap metal processors keep records. Accidental omission might mean paying taxes, plus a 20% penalty and interest. Purposely hiding income could result in tax fraud charges, leading to hefty fines or even prison time.

Determining whether it’s a business or a hobby matters. If it’s a business, you’ll report it differently, considering expectations of profit and regularity in buying and reselling. Hobby income goes on Form 1040, with deductions allowed on Schedule A. Business income gets reported on Schedule C, allowing deductions for various business expenses.

Remember, while you can deduct business expenses exceeding your income, consistent losses might prompt the IRS to view your business as a hobby.