How Much Money Can You Make Selling Scrap Metal?

Whether you have collected bags of aluminum cans at home or stacks of sheet metal and copper wire at your manufacturing facility, an excess of scrap metals can feel like it’s taking over your space. Selling your scrap metals is a great way to clear out your garage or warehouse and make money in the process. 

How much money you can make depends on the type of metals you have as well as the condition of those metals. For instance, aluminum scrap prices generally are lower than copper scrap prices. To find out how much your scrap metal is worth, the expert team at Gardner Metal Recycling’s Austin facility can provide current scrap metal prices for all your scrap. 

High-Value Scrap Materials 

There are several commonly used metals that will bring a high price when you sell your scrap. Typically, these are non-ferrous metals. To determine if you have non-ferrous metals, hold a magnet up to the metal. If it does not stick, you have non-ferrous metals. These include copper, brass and bronze.  

  • Copper: Copper is frequently used in pipes, wiring, gutters and roofing materials as well as kettles and cookware. Copper scrap prices vary based on the grade of copper you are selling. For example, #1 grade copper brings a higher price than #3 grade copper because #1 grade copper is more pure. 
  • Brass: Composed of copper and zinc, brass is another high-value scrap material. Brass is often found around the house in bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, clocks and even zippers. Often used in construction, red brass, semi-red brass and yellow brass are found in valves, pipe fittings, plumbing, water pumps and more. 
  • Bronze: Likewise, bronze also can bring a good price. Manganese and aluminum bronze are routinely used to make gears, machine parts and bearings. 

Low-Value Scrap Materials 

There are certain metals whose price tends to be lower due to their prevalence and availability. These usually are ferrous metals, which attract magnets, though exceptions include stainless steel and aluminum.

  • Steel: Steel is commonly used in everything from soup cans or shelving to steel beams and cables. If you have just a few pieces or pounds, you probably are better off dropping off your steel scrap at your local recycling center. However, if you have a vast amount of this ferrous metal—i.e., thousands of pounds—you will receive a fair price for it.  
  • Stainless steel: While also popular, stainless steel will earn you a better price than steel, in part because it is non-ferrous. Used in a range of items from appliance doors to sinks to cookware and more, stainless steel scrap prices tend to trend higher than those of steel, particularly if the metal is clean.
  • Aluminum: Although non-ferrous, aluminum is another low-value scrap metal because it is widely available. One of the most commonly sold scrap metals is aluminum cans because they can be found everywhere. However, you might be able to receive higher aluminum scrap prices if you sell aluminum scrap such as aluminum coil, window or door frames, or sheet metal.

Factors That Affect Scrap Metal Price 

Although the type of scrap metal you have helps determine the price, how much you receive for your scrap metal will also depend on the condition of the metal and how easy it is to extract the metal. For instance, stripped copper wire earns slightly higher prices than wrapped copper wire because the recycler has to remove the insulation from the latter. 

Likewise, scrap metals coated in paint or rust or that contain screws or caps may receive a lower price because the recycler will need to remove these items before it can be processed. 

Sorting your scrap metals is another way to make sure you receive the most current rate for your scrap. Putting all your copper together in one container will ensure that you receive a competitive copper rate. However, if you have your copper mixed in with steel and aluminum, you’re more likely to receive a rate based on those low-value metals rather than the copper. 

Demand for specific scrap metals also will affect the price you receive. For example, if there is an abundance of stainless steel scrap but production using stainless steel is reduced, stainless steel scrap prices will be lower until demand starts to increase. 

How Gardner Gets Its Pricing 

To ensure that you receive the most competitive price for your scrap metals, the expert team at Gardner Metal Recycling continually reviews the marketplace to determine the current rate for all types of scrap metal. These scrap metal prices fluctuate often, even daily, so we check frequently to bring our rates in line with current demands.

To learn our current scrap metal rates, contact us today.