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How to Find, Collect and Recycle Scrap Metal for Money

Updated on October 17, 2017

Trying to Get By?

This is an idea I've been doing for a couple of years now. It has actually saved me from getting a second part time job. This is not a scam, just an honest way to make some spare cash.

In this article I'll show you what it takes to find scrap metal and turn it in for cash. It will take a little effort, but it is actually fun and rewarding! You can actually make $100 or more with a load of scrap metal in your pickup truck.

First Things First

Get your phonebook or get on the Internet and locate your local scrap yards and recycling dealers.

When you call these numbers you'll want to ask 4 basic questions.

   1- What kinds of metals do you accept?

   2- How much are they paying for these metals?

   3- What are your operating days and hours?

   4- Where are they located?

The answers to these questions will help you decide which company to choose. Especially the price they are paying and their location.

What Exactly to Look For

When looking for scrap metal it's pretty simple, you want ANY kind of metal. Chairs, fence posts, swing sets, appliances and car parts are all examples.

You'll also want to use a small magnet. Anything that the magnet will stick to has iron in it. Iron is a "ferrous" metal. Any metal that has no iron is called "non-ferrous". Brass, copper, and aluminum are all non-ferrous metals and are worth more. Magnets won't stick to the non-ferrous metals. 

So when you start collecting scrap metal, keep your ferrous metal separated from the non-ferrous metal. You'll find a lot more iron metal but the non-ferrous metal is worth more per pound.

Where to Look for Scrap Metal

Drive around the neighborhoods in your community. People are always throwing stuff away next to their garbage. You might find an old washer or dryer. Or an old lawn mower. And most people don't mind if you take stuff from the side of the road. Just make sure you don't take any aluminum from those recycling bins they sit next to their garbage cans. This is illegal in most communities.

Tools You'll Need

The most important thing that is needed, is a pickup truck and/or a cargo trailer.

Cargo straps are good to have in order to hold your scrap down when going down the road.

A tarp may also be needed to cover the load. In the state of Georgia it is illegal to have an uncovered load. So check the laws of your state.

A magnet is needed to tell the difference between the ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

A good pair of gloves is also good to have.

A small tool set might also come in handy to take apart larger items to fit in your truck.

My Personal Experience

I've found that I can go out on the weekend for 3 or 4 hours and come back with at least 1000 pounds of scrap iron. Plus a few pounds of non-ferrous metal. And at the time I wrote this, scrap metal was going for $11.75 for a hundred pounds. That's $117.50 for 1000 pounds! Not bad for 3 or 4 hours of honest work!

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