It might not be one of the first things you’d consider when you’re thinking of ways to generate income, but there’s good money to be made in scrap metal. Whether you’re looking for a bit of extra cash, or just a responsible way to dispose of waste you’ve got lying around, scrap metal is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.
It’s also a good time for scrap metal recycling. Brisbane’s scrap metal prices are holding steady, and if you follow a few simple rules, you can turn your junk metal into a decent amount of cash.
Places to find scrap metal
You could already be sitting on one of the best and biggest resources of scrap metal: Brisbane’s garages and backyards are usually full of unwanted bikes, tools, and car parts that could be recycled for scrap instead of collecting dust. If it’s been a while since you’ve been through all the things in your shed, you might be surprised to find a small fortune in engines and engine parts, blunt saws, and dead computers—or even the beer fridge that’s not doing its job anymore.
Renovations are always a good place to find scrap metal. Most of the metals that will get a good price at the scrap yard can be found in plumbing and electrical wiring, so always hold onto these items after demolition—there’s always a chance they’ll help you recoup some of your labour costs.
If you’re planning to actively look for scrap metal, talk to your neighbours or community businesses to see whether they’d let you remove their metal waste for them. Many people will be happy to help you for the privilege of not having to cart it themselves, but you might even find yourself with repeat business if you pay them a small fee for it.
Scrap metal items
You can find scrap metal in many places, and many of them are inconspicuously hidden in unlikely sources.
Many people will know there are quite a few different kinds of recyclable metal in car bodies, batteries, engines and engine parts. When your car has passed its use-by date, make sure to sell it to a scrap metal dealer: you’ll be helping the environment by conserving a good amount of natural resources and avoiding pollution that disused vehicles cause, as well as getting back money that you parted with and forgot about a long time ago.
Scrap metal isn’t just in the big-ticket items, though. You’ll always find some value in whitegoods like fridges, but you’ll also find it in the tiny items like nuts and bolts, and screws and fasteners, particularly from plumbing materials, which can boost up the weight of your offering.
Electronic waste is a surprisingly resource of scrap metal. You’ll often find some good pieces in dead microwaves, TVs and computers—but the copper from appliance power cords is often just as valuable. Other common items that might be of value could include bikes, brass taps and borings, copper wire and insulated copper cable, gas bottles, hot water tanks, rainwater tanks, brass bed heads, plumbing pipes, musical instruments, locks and keys, and construction materials like window and door frames, beams, and sidings.
The different values of metals
While you can usually get a bit of money for most metals, there is quite a difference in the value of ferrous metal scrap and non-ferrous metal scrap.
One of the easiest ways to tell what kind of metal you’ve got is by using a magnet. If a magnet sticks to the metal, it’s a ferrous metal, which is common and usually steel or iron. If a magnet doesn’t stick to it, it’s a non-ferrous metal, like copper, aluminium, brass, stainless steel, or bronze.
Although you won’t get a high price for ferrous metals, you’ll still usually make some money, because scrap yards can recycle them and they’ll take them off your hands. Non-ferrous metals are what you’re looking for: they’re precious to scrap yards, sometimes worth up to 100 times as much as ferrous metals.
Copper is one of the most valuable metals to recycle. If it’s in good condition it’ll be red in colour, and if it’s worn or old it will be brown with greenish areas of rust. It’s often found in plumbing pipes, roofing gutters, air conditioners, and electrical wires, so if you’re renovating, make sure to set these materials aside for recycling. Brass can also fetch a good price, and it can be found in decorative items like lamps and bed frames, musical instruments, locks and keys, door handles, light and bathroom fixtures, and some plumbing materials.
Sorting and collecting scrap metal
Scrap metal is a time-consuming and labour-intensive business to be in, so you’ll likely find that most scrap yards will pay better for scrap that comes in bulk. You can maximise your profit by collecting your scrap metal, and selling it when you’ve got a decent-sized load.
You’ll also likely be paid more if you’ve taken care to separate your scrap metals by type, because it removes a great deal of the labour for the scrap yard in identifying and sorting the materials. Separate your scrap types as best as you can (buckets and barrels are a good way to do it). But if you aren’t able to do a thorough job, make sure at the very least to separate the more valuable items like copper from your mid- or low-priced ones like aluminium and steel.
It’s also important to make sure you’ve removed as much excess as you can from your scrap, because the scrap facility will pay more if they don’t have to strip it themselves. It also gives them fast and easy access to assess the value of it—like how much copper is actually in insulated copper cable—and their estimate will be more accurate.
Selling scrap at a reputable facility
As with most service providers, not all scrap metal dealers are equal. You should take the time to determine which business will be the best partner for you over the long term.
Tall Ingots operate at the highest standards: we abide by strict industry regulations in order to support legitimate income-generating scrap metal recycling, and to do our part to conserve the world’s natural resources.
We also pay cash for any type of scrap metal, whether you deliver it or have it collected, and we’re committed to maintaining competitive cash prices for scrap metal. Brisbane businesses and residents looking to turn junk into cash can contact Tall Ingots anytime for more information and we’ll be happy to help.