Scrap Metal Prices Steady Despite Ongoing Issues – 9/29/21


Tick Tock ⏳

Every day it seems like we’re waiting for a metal update as we don’t know what’s going on with these markets, especially with so many problems inside the federal government. Many people keep asking what we think about the markets moving forward, and we’re happy that the markets had such a strong September when they are traditionally very choppy (similar to the stock market). While we both could find a few metals that had choppy months, overall, we still see very strong demand for metal.

Moving into the rest of the year, we will see a little bit of disparity going on, and a lot of it is due to multiple supply chain disruptions. It looks like the world is finally getting back on track to the pre-pandemic stages. One of the things that we’ve learned in scrap and through transportation is how vital a steady stream of material can be. Scrapyards should appreciate the constant material you bring in, and you should continue to ask more questions on how you can separate and sort your materials so you keep making more money with them. 

Quick Numbers

  • 10.3% increase – At Tuesday’s pre-open on the London Metal Exchange, three-month aluminum was $2,883 a tonne. Month-to-date, that was up 10.3% higher from the August close of $2,610.50. 
  • 2.4% increase – Benchmark tin on the London Metal Exchange rose to a record $36,770 a tonne and was trading 2.4% higher at $36,310 by early afternoon.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

One more month to enter your scrap license plate idea and win this DeWalt Impact Driver & Bit Set 🎉 7 characters, 1 submission per scrapper – Make it your best idea! 

How many of you need this shirt? I sure do 😅 We have a Scrap You Later podcast episode coming out in a few weeks about back safety, but in the meantime, check out this podcast episode we just released Monday that tasks about the importance of safety precautions as a scrapper 👷 If you’re not already, make sure to follow the Scrap You Later podcast on Apple or Spotify!


Featured Question

Question: Do scrap yards take fiber optic cable, and if they do, what category does it go into?

Tom: “No one takes it; it’s all plastic. I wouldn’t suggest making any pickup runs for this material.”

Non-Ferrous Market News

Ending The Month Strong 💪

Going into September, we did not have very high expectations for the copper market. The fact that the markets have not dropped down and stayed relatively flat over this last month should be enough. Copper prices have traditionally bounced up and down in September, but we have seen such a steady surge in demand for the red metal that we see it continuing for the foreseeable future. 

You might want to start looking out for how the transportation logistics both domestically and overseas begin to come together as we still see labor shortages at multiple ports and in trucking routes. These shortages do not only apply in the United States but also around the world, where many countries have not returned nearly to the level that we have returned our industries in the U.S. We expect to continue to see markets being crunched and prices staying strong for the rest of the year.

Aluminum was undoubtedly the belle of the ball this month with prices reaching near record highs if not touching them for specific materials. Moving forward, we do expect the aluminum prices to stay strong as we expect most commodities and their levels to remain strong throughout the next year and a half. We’re hopeful that this continues and that manufacturing starts to see more of a pickup further to expedite the metal prices in an upward trajectory.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/22 – 9/28):




Orlando, FL Aluminum Cans $0.53 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $3.75 / lb
Grand Rapids, MI Romex® Wire $2.20 / lb
Baton Rouge, LA Red Brass $2.60 / lb
Bloomington, IL #2 Copper Tubing  $3.39 / lb
San Leandro, CA Insulated Copper Cable $2.00 / lb
Pleasanton, TX Stainless Steel $0.35 / lb
Stony Point, NY Brass Scrap $2.65 / lb
Akron, OH Cast Aluminum $0.45 / lb
Chattanooga, TN 304 Stainless Steel $0.67 / lb
Cullman, AL Aluminum Rims $0.50 / lb
Soldotna, AK Car/Truck Batteries $0.20 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Not Sure If You Noticed… 😣

But gas prices have continued to increase, and oil prices have now gone over $75 per barrel. This is important because we have seen inflation pick up due to decisions by the federal government and different initiatives they want to take place. We expect to see energy costs continuing to rise especially going into the wintertime. These costs will affect the pricing of steel and iron drastically, but we are happy to see minimal movement in September. We had expected a downward trend between $30-50, and not only did that not materialize, but we also have seen the price going into October stabilizing in a very positive way.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (9/22 – 9/28):




Greensburg, PA Complete Car $9.00 / CWT
Warrenton, MI Shreddable Steel $160 / ton
Salley, SC #1 HMS $11.50 / CWT
White Bluff, TN Scrap Iron $200 / ton
Pittsburgh, PA Cast Iron $150 / ton
McHenry, MS Shreddable Steel $0.07 / lb
Youngstown, OH Incomplete Car $130 / ton
Brocton, MA Light Iron $8.00 / CWT
Rockledge, FL Automobiles $0.05 / lb
Alsip, IL Scrap Iron $140 / ton
Concord, NH Light Iron $135 / ton

Other Metal Markets

Issues with Oversupply 🔋

Lead-acid battery prices have been stalled over the last few months. After showing signs of life in late July-early August, we have seen these markets falter as the overseas demand for shipping in low grade and potentially hazardous materials have fallen off. These price declines love to continue moving forward on the battery market as many people are holding a lot of loads of batteries. We recently talked to a large battery recycler who did between 15-20 tractor-trailer loads per day and said that there is such an oversupply of materials that they have to limit the number of appointments they have because there’s so much material out there.

Catalytic Converter Market News


Cat Prices Coming Back Up 📈

We are so happy to see that the catalytic converter prices have had a nice increase over the last week and a half after bottoming out to near 2021 lows a short two weeks ago. These markets look to be recovering strongly, but we continue to focus on the auto manufacturing sector as one of the primary consumers of these precious metals. We have seen many people resilient and reluctant to sell their catalytic converters after being used to the prices over the last 3 to 6 months. This is no surprise as it happens in every downward cycle from copper to steel and now the catalytic converters. Moving forward for the rest of the year, we see strong demand, but until supply chains strengthen on the auto manufacturing side, we do not see an uptick in prices for the rest of the year much further from where it is currently.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (9/22 – 9/28):

Cat Type/Serial Number


Foreign Honda O2 Straight $366/@
Foreign Medium $265/@
L.G. Flow $128/@
Foil $36 /@
After Market $20/@
Torpedo – High $581/@


Thank You.

Many people ask us about market predictions in where we expect the different copper and other metal mortgages to go for the balance of the year. We always tell them that if we knew that and had a crystal ball, we would help them out, but because we are at the back in call of the commodities world and the U.S. and four in politics, we certainly don’t have green indicators currently. We see the market at a very strong level, and they should remain at so for the balance of 2021. If there’s anything that you would like us to further spotlight, please let us know so we can feature it in either a podcast, a blog or talk about it during our weekly report.

– Tom


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