Aluminum Scrap Hitting 13-Year Highs – 9/15/21


How ‘Bout Them Apples 🍎

Do you like apples? Well, how about aluminum prices hitting 13-year highs (and in our opinion, that will not last long as prices climb more)!

The markets have been tested over the last month, and that should be no surprise considering the climate that we are in right now. Cars are parked on racing runways by car manufacturers waiting for microchips to power fun gadgets (like windows and door locks). It has certainly caused a ripple effect in the catalytic converter world, as well (see below). 

Copper prices have really stabilized the last few weeks after that quick price drop we saw in August. More and more people realize that as the EV and more energy-efficient industries, like solar and wind platforms, are being pushed for; thus, more copper will be needed. This will help spur the market strengths moving forward for the foreseeable future (aka…high copper prices may be here to stay, but don’t quote me on that).

Quick Numbers

  • $3,000/tonne – Aluminum pricing has reached $3,000/tonne for the first time in 13 years amid expectations that supply disruptions are here to stay.
  • 100.8M barrels/day – OPEC raised its forecast for global oil demand for 2022 by just under a million barrels a day to 100.8 million barrels a day, higher than 2019’s demand level of 100.3 million barrels.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

When’s the last time you saw one of these?!… Have you ever seen one of these? 😂 One of our Scrap Metal Recycling Talk members shared these cool vintage finds. Items like these always pose the question: to scrap or sell? Or, in Brian’s case, restore this masterpiece and then sell. A quick Google search shows that this machine, or ones similar to it, date back to the 1960s 😱 What would you do with it?

Suggested Read: Should You Scrap It Or Sell It?


Non-Ferrous Market News

High Copper Prices…Here To Stay?! 🤭

With copper prices holding their own, we will see the markets at this price level for the foreseeable future (hip hip hooray!) These markets could also turn on different policy shifts. Still, as the current administration is pushing the renewable energy space harder and harder, we may not see a shift away from the high demand for copper through at least the end of 2022 (and hopefully beyond).

This will mean that scrap copper you long to find will continue to have a higher value as mining operations take longer to bring the metal out and get refined. This will be great for scrappers, but we may see bottlenecking at U.S. mills and copper smelting operations. 

Another thing not to forget, with aluminum hitting super record highs and with copper prices climbing more and more, we will start to receive higher prices of goods such as phones, food, cars, electronics, and basically anything that has metal in or making it up. These high prices are great, but they will come at a cost to the everyday public for items that are no longer priced reasonably.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/8 – 9/14):




Depew, NY Lead Batteries $0.17 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.75 / lb
Hayward, CA Romex® Wire  $2.15 / lb
San Antonio, TX Copper Scrap $2.00 / lb
Escanaba, MI Aluminum Cans $0.37 / lb
Philadelphia, PA Meatballs (Electric Motors) $0.32 / lb
Tempe, AZ #1 Copper Tubing $3.40 / lb
Fairbanks, AK Insulated Copper Wire $0.25  / lb
Sparks, NV #2 Copper Tubing $3.37 / lb
Denver, CO 304 Stainless Steel $0.67 / lb
Lafayette, IN Zinc $0.10 / lb
Moncton, New Brunswick* Yellow Brass $2.10 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Iron Surprised Us 🎉

As steel prices were rumored to have a $50/ton drop this month, we have not seen much of that happening at all. The markets have stayed relatively calm (almost shocking but definitely welcoming), and we have not seen the major price drops that we spoke about. These markets have rebounded in some areas, with prices going up on items like light iron and complete cars.

These unexpected increases are welcome now, but we are waiting for the fourth quarter of 2021 to start seeing how companies’ expected revenue growth will affect pricing. On top of all of these things, we have continued to watch the oil prices increasing, which have caused more goods to increase in value over time, as we have seen from the recently released consumer reports. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/8 – 9/14):




Joplin, MS Shreddable Steel $6.25 / CWT
Oklahoma City, OK Steel BX $0.07 / lb
Seattle, WA Shreddable Steel $100 / ton
Lafayette, LA Unprepared Cast Iron $200 / ton
Rancho Cordova, CA Unprepared HMS $178 / ton
Cartersville, GA Shreddable Steel $8.00 / CWT
Harrisburg, PA Shreddable Steel $0.08 / lb
New Haven, OH Uncleaned Auto Cast $0.15 / lb
Osgood, IN Light Iron $179 / ton
Wynne, AR Shreddable Steel $0.08 / lb
Alpena, MI Tin $100 / ton

Other Metal Markets

If You’re Not Already, Find That Aluminum Scrap! 🥫

With aluminum being the bell of the ball this year, we have seen prices not only hitting those 13-year highs that we spoke of, but we expect these prices to keep going up. In addition to that, we also expect many of these prices to stick around as many companies are looking to use the highly durable white metal in the form of cars and electronics. 

We expect to see these demands growing in size, and we are hopeful that the output and demand will help keep the markets moving at least sideways for the rest of the year, if not higher. 

Catalytic Converter Market News



Rhodium Price Drop 📉

We have not seen a price drop like this in the catalytic converter market since COVID hit back in March of 2020. Rhodium prices have gone from $28,000 per ounce back in May down to $9,000 today. That is an incredible drop of over 68% and what makes it so much crazier is that over that time, next to no other metals have seen a decline of more than 7-10%. 

These price drops are due to the shortage of the micro-processing chips used to power everything from car windows, doors, sunroofs, touchscreens, and even automatic tire pressure sensor systems. All of these things are little mini-computer components nowadays and require these microchips. Because the chips are not even close to readily available at the moment, we see a massive delay in manufacturers sending cars out of the factories and into consumers driveways, which means that all of the precious metals that were needed for the catalytic converters are sitting on shelves and not going into cars.

A few months ago, the large run-up in prices caused the catalytic converter recycling world to go crazy, and we saw a massive influx of material into different refineries. Because rhodium’s main use (about 95% of all rhodium) is in catalytic converters, we have seen this market price slip, and it dragged platinum and palladium down with it. 

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (9/8 – 9/14):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign Honda O2 Straight $343 /@
Foreign Medium $238 /@
LG Flow $199 /@
Foil $42 /@
After Market $20 /@
Torpedo – High $342 /@


Thank You.

Learning is great; growing is better. Reporting your prices online gives other scrappers the ability to learn about the markets and view prices to help gauge against. After those prices are reported, we want to help adjust the national averages to be more accurate, and then you can start to hold your local yards accountable for pricing. With that said, it will help you make more money 😄 Have a great rest of the week, scrappers.

– Tom

P.S.: For all our newcomers, iScrap 2.0 is out and ready for download. Check out our completely redesigned app with all new features. We can’t wait for you to try it out and get your feedback!


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