What Metals Can I Scrap?

Many metals can be sold as scrap.
Many metals can be sold as scrap. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Visit with your local scrap dealers or recyclers before you decide to haul your scrap metal to the landfill. Scrap metal buyers often have handout material listing the type of scrap metals they are willing to purchase as well as the price they are offering. After you get a “feel” for what they are looking for, you can sort through your own scrap metals and create specific batches for scrapping or recycling. Select three or four metals that are salable and easy to transport.


Copper is a very marketable scrap metal and copper that is “clean” brings a high price. Strip the rubber or fabric coating from coils of wire and lay bare the valuable copper. Remove copper materials found inside refrigerators and air conditioners and sell them for scrap. Copper pipe used for plumbing and tubing are prime examples of valuable scrap copper. Wear work gloves when handling scrap metals because the pieces can be as sharp as a knife.


Scrap metal dealers seek brass fittings that are standard equipment found on steamers, radiators,and boilers. Such dealers are always pleased to purchase brass plaques, plates, house numbers, signs, grills and vents. Remove the brass fittings and other brass parts in washing machine motor assemblies prior to scrapping. Scrap brass may leave a dark residue on your hands; wear your work gloves.


The aluminum used in the manufacture of beverage cans, pie plates and sheet metal is worth money to a scrap metal dealer, and products that are free from dirt and debris bring premium prices. When you store aluminum cans in a bin, you can increase the overall volume by crushing the cans, either by hand or with the use of a can crusher. Do not overlook aluminum lampshades, ladders, gutters or siding. Cans and other shaped aluminum may hold water; be sure the scrap aluminum is dry before you scrap it because scrap dealers pay less for wet products.


Steel is another metal you can scrap for money. Steel worktables from a restaurant or diner, steel wall covering and steel shelving all have cash value even though they have outlived their original design. The secret to scrapping steel, as well as other metals, is to make sure the scrap metal is as clean as possible.

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