No, we’re not talking about the age of scrappers, but the history of scrapping and scrap yards themselves. For those that have been scrapping for at least 10 years if not more, you know there have been some very significant and impacting changes within the industry. So to explain some of those changes we are going to walk you through a trip to the scrap yard. One trip will be 20 years ago and another will be present day time.
Old Scrap 20 Years Ago
Joe the scrapper sees metal all around on the corners of streets and wonders where it all goes. He finds a local phone book and looks up recycling companies in the “R” section. He sees a few small ads and calls a company that says that they buy scrap metal and he is intrigued.
He takes down an old grill that he has in the backyard and sees a scale with manual weights to weigh the material and Joe leaves with $3. He is pretty happy because it was not a lot of work and it was just sitting in the back of his house. Now he starts really looking for metal and it seems that every month he is able to go around during trash week and find all types of metals from old appliances, grills, extension cords and more. He is filling up his truck with a load of mixed metals but his scrap yard just pays him a flat rate.
He talks to one of the scrap yard workers and sees a few ways to sort metals and the next time he brings in just a load of steel, 2000 lbs. and receives $16 and is really happy. That $16 will pay for his gas for two weeks and he will be able to continue to look around for more scrap in the area.
Sorting materials like copper and aluminum are worth it, but stripping wires is not something that he really wants to do because he doesn’t make that much extra money from it. Joe only goes to his local scrap yard that he found through the phone book because he doesn’t want to look around for too many options and they always pay on time.
When he gets weighed up at the scale the owner digs into his pocket and pulls out some cash and hands it to him along with a hand written receipt and Joe is able to go on with his day.
New Scrap Today
Joe the Scrapper gets his scrap prepared in his basement while his laptop is set up and he is watching the latest YouTube Scrap Tips videos. He decides he wants to take his 100 lbs. of Insulated Copper Wire and strip it down to get some more money at the scrap yard. In 45 minutes he has all of his wire stripped and separated, thanks to his hand electric wire stripper he bought. He has this weird alloy metal that is heavy like Lead but too hard. To get some more information on the item, he snaps a picture with his fancy smartphone and sends it to his local scrap yard through the iScrap App. His scrap yard gets back to him a couple hours later and tells him it looks like the alloy could be Carbide. Afterwards Joe loads up his bare bright wire, along with his 40 lbs. of clean copper tubing, and his mysterious 15 lbs. of alloy.
Before he leaves his house Joe checks the latest prices at his local scrap yard on the iScrap App and then grabs the directions and put them into his phone’s map system. On his way there, Joe sees some scrap on the side of the highway. As he pulls over he notices it is a Brass radiator probably from a car in an accident. He loads it into the back of his truck and continues to the scrap yard. When he arrives at the yard he grabs his portable sawzall from the back of his truck and quickly removes the steel ends off of the radiator so he can get a clean price for it.
Joe pulls up to one of the loading docks at his yard and grabs a cart to load his materials up separately. The scale manager, Frank asks for Joe’s driver license and puts it through the scanning machine and creates a digital copy of it in the scrap yard buying system. Frank then proceeds to weigh the materials separately on the digital scales which automatically puts the weight into the scrap yard buying computer. Frank then ensures that the system has also taken photos of the materials and Joe’s truck and license plate for theft prevention purposes. After the receipt is completed Frank asks Joe to sign on the digital pad to accept the terms and agreement for selling his scrap.
Joe is then instructed to take the receipt over to the ATM machine which scans, reads, and spits out the cash for Joe to take from his scrap metal earnings. Joe gets back in his truck and heads home just in time for dinner. At the end of the day, Frank goes into the computer and reviews all of the purchases, materials, and customers that came through the doors today and prints the reports out to hand to his employer.