Looking for scrap metal can be a daunting task, especially if you are new to the scrapping world. While it’s easy to say you can find scrap “everywhere”, there are some more common places you can find various types of metal for recycling.
Where Are The Best Places To Find Scrap Metal?
One of the main reasons some people take up scrapping is because they want to make some extra money on the side. Occupations like contractors, electricians, plumbers, and roofers often have scrap metal as a result of their jobs and the materials left over. But if you have a different job that doesn’t deal with any metal it’s hard to find a place to start looking for scrap metal.
The iScrap App Team has put together a guide below on some of the common places you can find scrap metal around your house, in the neighborhood, and even from local businesses. We also recommend getting familiar with the different types of metal to look out for while scrapping and also understand how to determine what kind of metal you have.
Where Can You Find Scrap Copper?
If you are on the hunt for scrap copper to recycle, there are several places you can find it. Below are some common places you can find copper to collect for scrap metal.
- Electronics: Electronics all have to use power. To get their power they have to use wires. Wires have copper inside. So when you are looking for copper scrap, take a look around your house or the side of the road. You can find many electronics that are broken or recyclable and make some extra money by cutting the wires off. Those wires are going to be classified as insulated wire or regular copper wire at your local scrap yard. Depending on the current price of copper, you can be looking at a few extra dollars in your pocket.
- Wire: Yes we mentioned wires above, but there is a way to make even more money on your copper wire. If you have the time and tools to strip the wire, you can make more money with your scrap yard. If you can strip the insulation off the wire with a box knife or wire stripper, you will have bare bright copper wire which is one of the most valuable common metals out there. This takes some time to do, but if you are looking for the biggest payout this is a good option.
- Plumbing: If you recently got your bathroom or kitchen redone, you most likely had some copper pipe and brass fixtures replaced. Those items can be sold at your local scrap yard. If you ask your contractor to keep those old materials for yourself (which you can), you can bring them in to your scrap yard for a good chunk of change.
- Decorations: If you are looking around your house or through some old boxes in the attic, keep an eye out for copper decorations or other items like pots and pans. If you no longer use them, collect them and bring them to your local scrap yard.
Where Can You Find Aluminum Scrap?
Aluminum is probably one of the most common metals used in generic items. It’s very pliable and is of lower value to manufacture. Using a magnet, test the metal. If it’s silver in color and doesn’t stick, you most likely have aluminum. Below are some common places you can find scrap aluminum.
- Kitchens: Aluminum is rust-resistant so therefore it is used in a lot of appliances and kitchen equipment to prevent rusting. If you have toasters that have rakes inside, rust-resistant pans, and some cooking bowls many of them may be aluminum.
- Engines: Aluminum is a light weight material, therefore it is used in building engines for cars and other vehicles. The cast aluminum from a car engine can be scrapped with a local yard. Many times they want the engine block to be clean of any plastic, steel, and other materials. So be sure to clean it the best you can before bringing it in.
- Your Backyard: Any railings or fences you have could also be aluminum, so if you have a broken pieces or are replacing it with a vinyl fence you can bring that aluminum into your local yard. Do your best to remove steel screws or any plastic to make sure to get a clean aluminum price.
- Pools: Many above ground pools are made with aluminum. So if you are replacing one or tearing it down, collect all the aluminum you can from it. From an average aluminum pool, you can have a couple hundreds pounds of aluminum scrap.
- Cans: One of the most common places to find scrap aluminum is from your beverage cans. Many scrappers collect cans to bring to their scrap yard, but remember it takes a lot of cans to make one pound. So when you are collecting it’s a good idea to rinse them out and crush them to give yourself more space.
Where Can You Find Steel & Iron Scrap?
The most common metal throughout the world is steel. So it’s pretty easy to find it and come across it when you are looking for scrap metal. The only downfall is that it take a lot of steel to make it worth your while. Iron & steel are one of the least valuable scrap metals due to it’s commonality. So if you are planning to collect a lot of steel for scrap, make sure you have a lot of room and have a way to bring it all to your scrap yard to make it worth your while.
- Appliances: When you are getting rid of a fridge, dishwasher, or other appliances you will most likely be getting a steel price at your local scrap yard. These items are easy to come across while you are driving through your neighborhood. When collecting these large items be sure to have the proper technique for lifting and safety when moving heavier objects.
- Pipes & Beams: Because steel is so strong it is used in many places that require strength to hold things up. So keep a look out for pipes and beams that hold items up. Hit it with a magnet and if it sticks you have steel. Also the pipes from fences are sometimes steel too, so be sure to check them.
- Electronics: Many times electronics cases or outside are built with steel. So items like computer towers and older TV’s can have steel cases along the outside.
- Anything Magnetic: When scrapping always have your magnet handy, it it sticks to a metal, it’s steel or iron. So be sure to separate that from other non-magnetic materials so you can get the best price for them.
Where To Find Computer Scrap?
When you are looking to get into more valuable scrap metal to collect, you may start searching for computer related scrap. Finding computer scrap is difficult but if you find some places or people that are willing to give you the computers to scrap, you can start making some good money.
- Computer Towers: Starting with the obvious, computer towers from desktops are easy ways to get started. Inside of the computer tower you are going to find many materials like CPU chips, motherboards, hard drives, RAM boards, low-grade boards, power supplies, and even copper wire. Taking those items apart the right way and separting them can make you some good money. The downfall is you have to collect a lot to make it worth your while. So save up your materials and bring in a bulk amount to your yard.
- Laptops: If you are collecting computers, you should look into collecting laptops too. You can scrap those as a unit and also scrap the batteries separately too. Make sure you are properly destroying the hard drives from the computers you are scrapping to ensure privacy for the data on them.
- Cell Phones: With almost every North American with a phone in their hand, scrapping cell phones has become more and more popular. The quantity is the key here to gather a larger amount of weight, but once you do you can make some good money.
- Electronics: Other electronics like TV’s, gaming consoles, and smaller electronics also have low grade boards inside that can be scrapped. While you won’t get top dollar for them it’s some extra cash for you to save.
Now It’s Time To Find A Scrap Yard
When you have collected your scrap metals and sorted them properly, you now have to find the best scrap yard in the area to bring your materials to. Shopping for the best scrap prices in the area can be hard, but with the iScrap App you can check prices online and report any scrap prices you’ve received. When looking for a scrap yard, you want to check out the best prices and also how close they are. Also keep in mind some scrap yards may buy certain materials and not others. So make sure you ask what metals they accept and if you can bring yours in.
*Disclaimer* Do not take items or material from property or the side of the road if you do not have permission.