No Reason To Complain About Scrap Prices – 8/4/21


Quit Complaining 🥴

So you want to complain because the market is slightly down? Come onnnnnn. Let’s talk about what a ride 2021 has been in the commodities world, and you may even change your short-term thinking. With the new 2.0 version of the app coming out (any day now), we are excited to help you learn more about the markets and move away from the old-school version of what you think about scrap yards. Into the 21st century digital age we go.

So many people think about metals as an old-school thing when they are anything but that. With changing economics, markets are being driven by global activity more than ever, and times have to change. Coming directly from a scrap yard background, many of the people who work with the iScrap App have seen so many frustrating stories from scrappers both online and in person that we are trying to help you make more money and learn about scrap.

With the markets bouncing over the last week, we are in a downward cycle going into August, but overall the markets are still solid, and they warrant more attention than they are being given right now. The oil industry has been affecting steel prices, which has shifted to other metals like non-ferrous being dragged down going into the summer doldrums…but that should be shifting, and we will go into it soon. 

Quick Numbers

  • 5% – Just 5% of the world’s power plants account for nearly three-quarters of global carbon emissions from electricity generation.
  • 7% – 7% of the world’s copper production is at risk because of impending strike threats at two of Chile’s smaller mines – Codelco’s Andina and JX Nippon Mining & Metals’ Caserones.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

This post in our Facebook group Scrap Metal Recycling Talk really got under some peoples’ skin, so we thought it would be an interesting question to ask again 😅  What makes a true scrapper?

On another note, we’ve received some great responses to this week’s group question: Tell me you’re in the scrap metal business without telling me you’re in the scrap metal business…

This was, of course, one of our favorite responses 😂


There’s still time to comment with your own response and make us laugh!



Featured Question

Question: What do you think makes a “true” scrapper?

Tom: “In my opinion, a true scrapper’s someone that’s willing to learn and break things down while making money at the same time. Not only does it help for internal knowledge, but it also helps the environment.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

Strike Threats in Chile 🚫 

Copper prices have had a back and forth couple of weeks, so let’s talk about why. We saw a massive price increase on Monday, July 26th, and Tuesday, July 27th, with the markets jumping about $0.25/lb. There were talks about a lack of supply and a potential strike in the largest copper mine in the world (PS – that is happening in Chile, and the last strike lasted for months…). Let’s talk about what could happen and how it could affect your market pricing if there is a strike.

If 5% of the world’s new copper production gets halted, that would mean we’d probably see a jump in the copper prices of a few cents (or more). But if they avoid the shutdown or the strike ends (which they always do at some point), that is when we would see a copper pullback in pricing.

A 30% increase in aluminum pricing in 2021 alone has shed some light on the high demand for the metal this year. Everything from beverage cans to car frames and parts will be affected. Going into 2022, you will start to see (maybe not if you don’t pay attention) increases in goods like beer, soda, cars, electronics, aluminum foil, window frames, and anything else that has aluminum in it. These changes will hit the markets hard as recycled aluminum is just getting into the new production lines right now. With manufacturers generally not having a 30% profit margin on goods but relying more on volume than price, we’ll start to see the prices increase on the scrap side and the retail side of things. 

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (7/28 – 8/3):




San Marcos, TX #2 Copper Tubing  $3.40 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.90 / lb
Cleveland, OH 304 Stainless Steel $0.40 / lb
Titusville, FL Insulated Copper Wire $1.00 / lb
Lawrenceville, GA Aluminum Scrap  $0.46 / lb 
St. Louis, MO Communications Wire $0.30 / lb
Laurel, MS Yellow Brass $1.37 / lb
Brodnax, VA #1 Copper Tubing  $2.50 / lb
Waupaca, WI Aluminum Cans  $0.25 / lb
Hayward, CA Die-Cast  $0.45 / lb
Charlotte, NC Clean Lead $0.30 / lb
Tulsa, OK Clean Aluminum Wheels $0.51 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Good News 👍 Bad News 👎

Looking for some bad news? Steel markets finally took a beating, with pricing down $40/ton since the beginning of July. These price decreases should not come as a surprise, as we generally see the decreases happening not only in the late summer but also in the height of oil increases. 

Looking for good news? The markets are rumored to be increasing in September (that’s four weeks away, so we are not getting our hopes up too high).

These markets are all over the place, and while you are not asking for our advice, I will give it to you anyway. Sell what you have, and do not try to squeeze every ounce of juice from the orange. Sometimes touching product/metals multiple times costs more money and could even be a safety concern when you think about the number of times that you do it over and over, year after year. 

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (7/28 – 8/3):




Harrisburg, PA Tin $150 / ton
Weatherford, TX Shreddable Steel $255 / ton
Osgood, IN Light Iron $180 / ton
House Springs, MO Shreddable Steel $145 / ton
Portland, OR #1 Prepared $260 / ton
Manassas, VA Light Iron $0.06 / lb
Birmingham, AL #2 Prepared $9.00 / CWT
Parkin, AR Shreddable Steel $0.10 / lb
Columbus, OH Light Iron $190 / ton
Independence, KS Shred/Tin $130 / NT
Shreveport, LA #1 Unprepared $10.50 / CWT

Other Metal Markets

Lead Making A Comeback? 🤔

Finally, time to get the lead out. We have not seen much movement in the lead markets since 2021, but we are finally seeing some wiggle room now. We have started to see lead pricing ticking up, but the batteries were really trailing for a long time. Now that there has been some initial pushback on the E.V. market, we could see battery prices begin to rally going into the end of 2021.

Are there any metals we do not highlight that you want to hear about? Let us know!

Catalytic Converter Market News



The markets have been calm over the last two weeks…breath in and breath out. Because calm is how we like them. While we are about 25% off from some of the highs that we saw a few times earlier this year, overall, we are in a good place, and we feel that we can continue to rely on the consistency of the market for the near future. 

With the stable markets here, we are hoping that we have now been able to find a new floor (that means a bottom of the markets moving forward) and at least have a reliable pricing guide moving forward. 

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (7/28 – 8/3):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign – Pre  $85/@
Foreign – Medium $351/@
Foreign – Large  $381/@
Honda 02 $646 /@
Domestic $213/@
Chrysler $307/@
Bead Jumbo $150/@


Thank You.

“If you can see it, you can scrap it.” The cowardly lion said that to the tin man in passing, and an argument ensued…but the markets were up, so it is what it is.

– Tom

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