Scrap Metal: What Is It and Where To Find It

So you’re looking to make a few extra dollars, and you heard about scrap metal. What is it? Where can you find scrap metal, and how can you sell it? With so many questions, let the iScrap App tell you where to look first so you can avoid wasting time and money while learning how to start making money with scrap metal.

Copper (aka Scrappers Gold)

Copper is found everywhere, from cell phones to in-ground copper electrical lines. While we do not advise bashing your cell phone apart or taking down your power lines, we do want to give you a few places to begin your search:Plumbers Brass

  • Home Appliances- Items like microwaves, refrigerators, air conditioners, and old electronics all contain bits and pieces of copper wire. You can learn how to dismantle things through our YouTube Channel
  • Town-wide Trash Days- Most towns have monthly or yearly bulk trash cleanouts. These days allow residents to place larger items at the end of their driveways; we’ve heard many stories of scrappers finding plenty of scrappable items on trash days–from old Christmas lights to copper pipes that were in Grandpa’s tool shed.
  • Electricians or Plumbers- Many of you will have a family member or a friend in the trade industry, which is a great place to look. You will either get metals from them or even work out a deal that allows you to sort and separate the scrap in return for splitting the proceeds. 

Brass (Yellow Copper?!?!) 

While brass is not as valuable as copper, you can find it in many useful or decorative areas. Brass generally contains between 60-80% copper (don’t forget that brass is an alloy, not a metal) and is less valuable than copper by the pound.

  • Ornamental Decorations- Think about this…now think again. Have you ever looked at old brass bells in your house, or book holders, maybe even an old brass-framed bed? There are many pieces of brass in the home, from figurines to silver-coated brass silverware, that you would be able to find and cash in. 
  • Plumbing Applications- Plumbers use brass valves to control water shut-offs. Behind most toilets, there are brass knobs, and some old homes contain brass pipes

Wire (Plastic on top of copper)

Wire is everywhere, and you wouldn’t even know how much there is until you start to think about it. So let the team at iScrap show you some of the areas you can find and then cash in your wire scrap.

  • Computers/Electronics- The home appliance that plugs into the wall–that wire you use to plug it in contains copper, and you can cut it right off.
  • Internet/Phone Wires- The old blue and grey cords that you hooked up your old DSL modem or your router to will contain copper, as well. Many people remove traditional home computers and move to tablets, phones, and laptops; many wires are left behind for you to scrap
  • Electricians- This may be a little harder to fish the wire away, but with many electricians, as we talked about above, you can work out a profit share of the wire with copper. 

Electronic Scrap (Think of anything that has a screen)

These devices are being used as you read these words and are everywhere. Electronic scrap can be an old laptop or phone, but some devices like tube TVs or CRT monitors will require a little more effort to recycle. Remember that not all scrap yards will recycle your e-waste and pay you, so using the search feature in iScrap will help you find someone near you.  

Take apart your electronics for recyclable metals

  • Computers/Laptops- As technology gets faster, it makes older computers seem much slower and more expendable. That first generation tablet that you got back in 2010? Yeah, it has probably run its course, and even the resale market is gone for it. Time for the scrap pile (click to learn how to take them apart and make more money). 
  • TVs/Monitors- These are very tough to recycle, and we advise contacting your local town recycling department. They generally will have a monthly dropoff for the goods, and that is normally included in your taxes, meaning you do not have to pay to get rid of these devices. 
  • Cell Phones- You may want to spend some time making sure that your pictures of your dog jumping over a puddle was saved, but once that is done, you can scrap these old phones. Of course, we always recommend trying to find a resale route, but like the tablets, as phones get older, they will be slower than today’s technology and generally are scrap. 

Steel/Iron (Think rusty old metal)

Step 1: Go to your fridge and take that magnet for your favorite pizza place off. Then take that magnet and stick it on some metal; anything that it will stick to is magnetic and most likely is steel or iron. After you get a little more skilled in the scrap world, you may want to ask your local yard if they have magnets that you can have and if they do, save it (the magnet will become your best friend while scrapping).

  • Home Appliances- While we have already spoken about these before, almost all home appliances will be magnetic and will become steel. 
  • Automobiles– While many cars and trucks have aluminum parts, the frames, doors, engines, and other pieces were all made from steel for years.
  • Lawn Tools/House Tools- Those old screwdrivers, drill bits, hammers, snow blowers, vices, or any other variety of lawn or home tools will be steel. 

Aluminum (Think light and white in color)

Aluminum is one of the most common metals that is used not only in commercial applications but also in residential uses. Whether you are recycling old beverage cans or lawn chairs, the areas to find and scrap aluminum are plentiful so let’s get right into it.Aluminum Rims

  • Cans, Cans, Cans- Beer and soda cans are some of the most common scrap aluminum items that we see recycled daily. We always suggest cleaning them out and making sure that they are not crushed, as most scrap yards like to buy them as-is. 
  • Lawn Furniture- Many chairs and tables are made of aluminum scrap. Use your magnets (it shouldn’t stick if it’s AL) to ensure that before you crush or cut them up. 
  • Windows and Doors- Not all, but many exterior storm doors and window frames are aluminum. Since the mid-2000s, many of the windows that have now been installed are going to be vinyl; the ones that they replaced are generally wood or aluminum. These are great finds and always a good idea to break the window frames apart to save room. Also, if you find screens, make sure that they are not vinyl mesh but aluminum mesh before taking them down to your scrap yard

Scrapping CAN Be Easy

Nothing is straightforward, but by reading articles like this, you will learn about simple starting points to find different types of scrap metal. We won’t always have the perfect answer, but it gives you a jumping-off point to look around for more scrap. As you continue to look at our YouTube page to get ideas, you can always comment below the videos and ask questions. The team at iScrap will quickly get back to you with simple answers on how to make more money with your hard work while scrapping

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