How to Make Money Recycling Scrap Metal

Recycling is a very effective way to conserve natural resources. While everyone has heard of resourceful people scrounging up soft drink cans for pocket change, there is more money to be made from this earth-friendly habit. Did you know that you can actually make money recycling scrap metal? 

Three Simple Ways to Make Money from Scrap Metal 

  • Host a metal drive. This is a great fundraiser for organizations. Volunteer to pick up old appliances, pipes, toys, tools, car parts, and other items from people in your community.
  • If you know people doing home renovations, contact them and volunteer to haul away their old aluminum siding, appliances, and pipes. They will appreciate not having to deal with the items, and you will earn money from the recycling center.
  • Post an advertisement on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist and offer to pick up scrap metal for free. You do the hauling and transportation to the recycling center, and you get the money from the metal. The other party benefits because they don’t have to deal with their items or pay expensive dumpster fees. 

What Can You Recycle?

Of course, you can recycle aluminum, but also bronze, brass, cast iron, steel, and tin. Go around your house and garage and find metal items you no longer need. This includes tools, toys, appliances, pipes, furniture, and car parts. A good rule of thumb is that an item should be at least 50% metal. If the metal parts can be easily separated, then go ahead and do that. For example, you could remove the metal legs from a chair. 

Where to Take Your Scrap Metal?

Once you have a good collection of metal to be recycled, you need to find a place to take it. A good start is to search the phrase “scrap metal recycling near me “. Carefully read up on each recycling facility and learn what types of metal they accept and how much they pay. Most recycling centers will not take metals that may have hazardous components or if it contains dangerous items such as paint cans, propane tanks, mercury, electronics, or batteries. 

How to Get the Most Money for Your Scrap Metal?

The amount of money you will make depends on the recycling facility. Recycling facilities pay different amounts for various metal types and pay by the pound, so heavier items are more profitable. If you mix all the items together, you will earn the lowest amount. Learn how to identify different types of metals. Metals can be ferrous and nonferrous. Ferrous metals contain iron and are more common. They’re easy to identify because a magnet will stick to them. Nonferrous metals are more precious. Aluminum is the most common nonferrous metal. Brass and copper are the most valuable metals, so it is worthwhile to separate copper tubing and brass pipes from other metals. 

Help the Planet and Your Wallet

Recycling scrap metal is a great side hustle. All you need are a truck to collect and haul metal and a place to store it. Some people earn hundreds of dollars a month. Figure out your best sources of recyclable metal, and then learn how to identify and sort out different types. Research the best place to take the metal and then get busy collecting, sorting, hauling, recycling, and earning!

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.