Recycling scrap metal is our latest money-making weekend excursion. We live on a property where people used to dump trash. It’s unfortunate, but it happened. Instead of being bummed about our situation, we’re being opportunistic and profiting from recycling the old metal that was left on our property. You don’t have to live at a dump (ha!) to profit from recycling. My sister and I saved a thousand dollars a piece as kids from recycling aluminum cans.
Locate your source
This is the most important part of scrapping. Here’s a couple of ways to locate a scrap source if you aren’t lucky enough to live on a dump. 🙂 Ask family and friends if you can haul off their old appliances. Ask your neighbors if you can go through their recycling and pick out the aluminum cans— that’s what I did as a kid. Notice that your workplace doesn’t recycle? Offer to take the recycling to the dump and profit from the aluminum cans (and in some states, the glass bottles!). Post an ad on Craigslist to haul off old junk for free.
Locate your local scrap metal yard
Different scrap metal yards will be take different kinds of metal. Look up your local scrap metal yard and check to see what kind of metal and objects they accept. Some metal yards are wide-ranging and they’ll accept anything from coat hangers to Christmas lights. Others may just accept aluminum or old car parts.
Check the pricing
The price of metals can change on a daily basis. Certain metals will be more profitable than others. Copper, for example, fetches a high price. Aluminum is much easier to locate, but will fetch a lower price.
Check the weather and consider time of year
Scrapping in the rain is no fun. Also scrapping in 90 degree heat may give you heat stroke. Use common sense, people. If you are scrapping metal in the woods or outdoors, the early spring is prime time to scrap. The poison ivy isn’t out yet and neither are the snaaaaakes.
Wear appropriate clothing
No one should spend their scrap metal profits on tetanus shots. Wear thick gloves. If you are going out into the woods, like we did, wear long pants and long sleeves to protect yourself from poison ivy, brambles and the rogue sharp object.
Keep weight in mind
If you come across a large source of metal, you’ll want to keep weight in mind. When we moved scrap from the woods, we picked out the largest, heaviest objects because we knew that they would bring more cash. We avoided the flimsy, small and “roached out” pieces of metal.
Invite your strongest friends
If you plan to scrap appliances or large barrels, like we did, you might need to split your profits with a strong friend. I could carry out a few of the barrels, but George did the majority of the heavy lifting. We found a couple of stoves and a bed frame back there and there is no way my spaghetti-noodle arms could have carried that stuff out alone.
Borrow a truck
Scrapping can get dirty. We borrowed my father-in-law’s truck to haul our junk to the scrap yard. My car didn’t get dirty and we were able to put much more scrap into the bed of a truck than in the bed of my Honda!
Scrapping metal can be a profitable little side gig and a great workout. George and I joke that we should invite people over to our house for “country crossfit” and make city people do all of our chores— chopping wood, pulling scrap metal out of the woods and tilling the garden.
Have you ever tried to trade in your scrap metal for cash? Let me know in the comments!