From Dan Harding on May 20, 2008 in Tools and Tips
Recently the price of metals has been on the rise, especially copper. But even steel, aluminum, and others are consistently climbing as the demand outstrips supply. So, if you have piles of scrap metal collecting spiders in your basement or shed, then consider getting paid for getting rid of it! Especially after using copper piping or a roll of wire for you remodel, you may be able to cash in on the old stuff. A quick look in the phone book will locate a local scrap metal yard where you can trade in old scrap metal for cash. Copper pipe is the real bread winner in metals recycling. A pile of copper pipe could garner you a few hundred dollars or more. There are two grades of copper, clean and dirty. Dirty copper still has the fittings soldered onto it—cut these off and you can sell back the copper for more money. But don’t leave the fittings at home, you can sell the dirty copper back too. Electrical wiring contains copper itself. So if you’re doing some demo, don’t toss out that old wiring. Note that electrical wire is worth less with the insulation still attached. Brass and bronze are also recyclable. Think old faucets, fittings, valves, etc. Aluminum is a popular scrap metal because it used to be such a popular construction material before the rise of vinyl. Consider old gutters, window frames, siding, flashing, pots, pans, cans, etc. Even old batteries are worth something, including car and motorcycle batteries like those old heavy lead acid ones. Steel is still in large supply and not worth much, but it can’t hurt, especially if you’re taking a load of other metals, to bring it along and be rid of it. Also, taking the steel and other metals to a scrap yard keeps the material out of local landfills, many of which have already become transfer stations because their full. Remember that if you are taking a large load of metals, especially copper, to the yard you may have to fill out a form to explain where exactly it came from. Theft of copper and wiring from construction sites has become a frequent problem of late due to the lucrative appeal of copper. In addition, always be careful when handling batteries and electrical motors and other equipment. Batteries of course contain volatile acids and motors may contain oil, which will need to be drained before setting out. Also, whenever handling old, possibly rusty, metals wear gloves and make sure your tetanus shot is up to date. Whether you are cleaning up the basement, shed, or boneyard, remodeling or renovating an old house, keep recycling in mind. First and foremost it is an environmentally friendly act, but it will also ease the costs of manufacturing new metal products, not to mention make you a decent handful of money in the meantime. If you’ve hired a contractor to do the demo work on the house or shop, they’re probably well aware of the rewards behind scrap metal, but don’t hesitate to ask for sorted piles of debris.