What types of Aluminum will you come across?
When scrapping, you may come across a wide variety of scrap aluminum. While several materials can be classified as “aluminum,” many different types are priced and sorted separately at scrap yards. Below are some common types of aluminum scrap you will come across when scrapping.
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- Sheet Aluminum – This category includes materials like lawn chairs (without the webbing), lighter gauge pots and pans, window frames with small amounts of plastic or steel attached, and jacketing from MC cable.
- Cast Aluminum – This is aluminum that looks to have been poured into a mold—something like a BBQ grill, molds for certain applications, or larger light pole bases.
- Dirty Aluminum– This would be anything that has steel, rubber, or plastic attached. If steel bolts are going through something, we would also classify this as dirty. When scrap yards see any non-aluminum material mixed in with the “clean” aluminum you are trying to sell, it is difficult to get clean prices.
- Aluminum Cans – One of the more common items brought to scrap yards is aluminum cans. With the abundant availability of soda and food cans, many people clean out, crush, and collect cans before bringing them to a yard. Be sure to call your yard for pricing.
- Aluminum Gutters/Siding – Mainly collected by general contractors and roofers, aluminum gutters and siding are common types of aluminum that find their way to the scrap yard. With many people opting for vinyl siding, residential buildings have less aluminum.
- Aluminum Wire – When pulling out cables and stripping wires, you may find wires you first assume will be copper, but instead, you find they are silver in color. As long as they are not magnetic, these will be aluminum wire. Be sure to sort through to separate these wires from copper.
- Aluminum Rims – Common to automobiles and trucks, aluminum rims are another type of aluminum scrap that should be sorted. To maximize your profit, remove any rubber tires and Lead Wheel Weights from them.
You might see a price half as much as a clean price (maybe even less than that). That happens because you have to think of the labor that goes into cleaning and sorting severely dirty material. Make sure to contact your local yard to describe your aluminum, and they should be able to give you an idea of what grade you’ll be getting and any ways to help clean up your aluminum and get better prices at the scale.