Talk the Talk: Mastering the Scrap Metal Lingo

Computer Wire for Scrap Metal

Knowing what you have…and saying what you have are two different things. It is not easy to always know what type of material you have, and without knowing the proper terminology, it will be challenging to sell it for the right price at your local scrap yard.

What Is The Lingo?

What does that mean if you go to sell material and say that you have copper to sell? Copper Wire? Stripped Bare Bright? Insulated Data Wire? With so many different names, it is tough to know what you have without having a lot of experience or establishing a lasting relationship with a scrap yard.

It can be hard to know what the metal is called on your own, but knowing what your yard calls, it can be completely different. On the iScrap App, we have dozens of metals and materials, some of which seem similar. That is because they are. Different metals are referred to by different names or terminology in different regions of the United States and Canada.

Suggested Reading:

Are You Sure That’s Brass…?

A perfect example would be to go to a scrap yard and say that you have brass for sale…well what if you have scrap bronze and you don’t know it? Some shady scrap yards would try to make the extra money for themselves instead of paying you for your hard work. But, if you know what you have, then you should be the one to profit from the material that you’re selling. Bronze has a higher grade of copper inside; therefore will generally pay at least a few cents more per pound compared to Brass, which has less copper and more zinc.

Suggested Reading: One Thing Scrap Yards Won’t Tell You

What Kind Of Weight Does Your Yard Use?

Understanding “Gross Ton” and “Net Ton” is fundamental when navigating the scrap metal industry, where different yards may employ varying weighing conventions. A Gross Ton (GT) equals 2,240 pounds, whereas a Net Ton (NT) equals 2,000 pounds. The discrepancy between the two lies in their definitions: Gross Ton incorporates the additional weight of packaging, pallets, or containers, whereas Net Ton solely measures the actual weight of the scrap metal itself. While Gross Tons are often used as the standard for steel and commodity weights in pricing, some yards opt for Net Tons for reasons like:

  • Transparent pricing
  • Dealing with contaminants
  • Legal compliance
  • Operational efficiency

Ultimately, whether a yard uses Gross or Net Tons can significantly impact how much you will make at the yard. That’s why it’s crucial to master this lingo beforehand to ensure transparency and accuracy in weighing practices, especially when dealing with significant quantities of material.

Suggested Reading: The Difference Between Gross Ton & Net Ton

Scrap metal is so tricky sometimes that it takes a lot of time to get used to what you have and how to classify it. That’s where the online world of the iScrap App will help you learn what you have, how to label it, and how to make more money every time you scrap. When you aren’t sure about what materials or metals you have, you can always join the conversation on the iScrap Metal Forum and ask our scrappers about what you have, too.