Before you find a buyer for your scrap metal, it’s good first to assess the value of your metal. Here are things to remember when estimating the value of scrap metal.
Use a magnet to assess the value of your metal
Is the scrap metal you want to recycle ferrous or non-ferrous? Test the metal with a common magnet. A magnet will stick to ferrous metal. You have a non-ferrous metal if your scrap doesn’t stick to the magnet.
Non-ferrous metals are the most valuable
Metal recycling dealers pay more for non-ferrous than ferrous metals. The most sought scrap don’t contain iron and is more resistant to corrosion. Common non-ferrous scrap metals include copper, aluminium, lead, bronze, and brass.
Identifying commonly recycled non-ferrous metals
- Copper. Copper often fetches good money at recycling yards. In good condition, the metal is reddish but can be dark brown if worn. You can find copper in common electric wires, plumbing pipes and in roofing materials such as gutters.
- Brass. Brass is a mid-level priced metal in most scrap yards. This yellowish metal is found in plumbing fixtures, door handles, bathroom fixtures and keys.
- Aluminium. Although aluminium is non-ferrous, it’s usually not worth a lot of cash. But you can find this whitish, silver-coloured metal in bulk. Manufacturers commonly use aluminium for cans, window frames, doors, siding, fence panels and many more household items.
Ferrous metals are usually less valuable
Ferrous metals such as iron and steel are important to the metal recycling industry. However, these metals need to be in bulk otherwise they won’t be valuable to a recycler.
Material quantities matter
Weight affects the payout amount of scrap metal. You’re likely to have better value leverage if you have bulk quantities of scrap. If possible, approach a recycler once you’ve stockpiled a decent amount of scrap.
Demand for non-ferrous scrap is high because these metals are scarce. Conversely, ferrous metals are typically in good supply. Non-ferrous scrap then has higher prices than ferrous scrap metal.