How Much Money Is in Scrap Metal Collection?

How Much Money Is in Scrap Metal Collection?
  • Opening Intro -

    Mining new metal is something we try to avoid at all costs.

    It’s an expensive, laborious, and resource-intensive process that’s as hard on workers as it is on the planet.


By recycling existing metal products, however, we can reduce the need to mine ores for new metal products. This process begins at your local scrapyard, where dedicated recyclers obtain and resell scrap metal to keep the materials in circulation. Scrappers make money in this business, and you can make some money on scrap metal yourself.

Scrap metals are commodities, and the values of commodities shift by the day. However, within some general parameters, we can give you a basic idea of how much money is in scrap metal collection in the second quarter of 2021.

Ferrous Metals

Most scrap yards deal extensively in iron and steel. These are some of the most plentiful metals in construction and manufacturing due to their strength and versatility. However, their plentiful nature and the fact that they’re subject to corrosion tend to devalue iron and steel when it comes to resale prices.

In April 2021, cast iron will sell for about $200 a ton or $0.10 a pound. Steel prices have taken a tumble after the pandemic slowed construction, but they’re on the rebound at around $180 per ton.

Non-Ferrous Metals

You can show up to a yard with half a ton of steel scrap and still not walk away with much money in your pocket. The real money is in the non-ferrous metals: metals that don’t share iron’s natural magnetism nor its susceptibility to corrosion.

One pernicious myth about the industry claims that you won’t make money with any metal. You’ll find out just how much money is in scrap metal collection if you can trade these metals for cash. If your business works with metals, or a renovation of your commercial space has left some scrap aside, consider cashing in.

  • Copper is worth between $3 and $3.50 per pound at most recyclers, depending on its form—”bare bright” wire is the most prized form of copper, though piping and decorative roofing still carry a high value.
  • Brass and bronze, the copper alloys, have slightly lower values, but they’re still worth far more per pound than ferrous metals. This year, bronze is selling for around $2 a pound in most products, while brass, most commonly part of old plumbing fixtures, has ranged from $0.65 to $1.75 per pound depending on quality.
  • Manufacturers value aluminum for its lightness and malleability. Scrap metal collectors have been receiving between $0.40 and $0.50 per pound for aluminum siding, castings, and sheets, while everyday consumers can enjoy those resale values for aluminum cans. As any college student knows, those cans can add up fast.
  • Handle lead with care, but recognize that you can receive around $0.50 to $0.60 per pound for this dense but highly malleable metal. You may find lead plumbing piping in your home that you wish to replace. This helps recoup the costs of replacement and installation.

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