Scrapping is an opportunity. It is an entrepreneurial opportunity. It s a chance for you to take something that everybody else sees as red, and turn it into black. You turn waste into reward. You take trash and make treasure. Its almost like magic. But not quite.

Scrapping is selling anything with material value so somebody else can refine it. That material in most cases is metal. You have heard of it before. You know of its existence, but you just don’t know you know. When you see those irritating ads that ask you to send you gold through USPS, they are asking you to scrap your gold. When you set your recyclables at the street in the green bin, the city is scrapping those materials to get a credit on their waste management bill.

All things have scrap value, its just sometimes it costs more to refine the scrap than it does to just throw the scrap out; Leaded glass, for example, has negative scrap value and no matter what you must pay to discard it.

Other things you set to the curb, like an old oscillating fan, has a very positive scrap value, more or less depending on the exact materials…

“What kind of materials?”, one might ask. Well they could be any of the following:

  • Iron, steel, shred combination:  $.06 per lbs or 6 cents per pound
  • non magnetic stainless steel: $.50 per pound
  • aluminum: between $.25-$.50 per pound dependent on quality
  • copper: $2-$2.50 per pound
There are many ways to break these categories up further, and that will be done at whatever scrap yard you visit’s discrepancy. Many yard have categories for copper wire, and they break those down by copper percentage. If you have an electric motor (which contains copper coils) they will usually pay around $.20 per pound. One can sell all sorts of things this way, and if you find the right type of place to sell your scrap, they will help you sort things out if you’re a starter. 
So the next important thing as a scrapper is knowing how to break things down (read my past post on Reverse Engineering)! If I use my previous example, we should see several different materials in an oscillating fan, pictured on the left. The base and protective cage are most likely steel. The vertical post could be aluminum, but is probably steel as well. The blades could be non magnetic stainless steel, or just regular steel. There is most likely a copper containing motor in the middle that runs the blades, and possibly a secondary one that make the head oscillate. Finally, all appliances running on electricity have a copper wire power cord that runs from the wall, up the vertical post, and into the motor of the fan. 
If you were to bring this fan to a scrap yard as is, they would give you .06 per pound for it. if the fan weights 30 pounds, you made 30*.06= $1.80. If you separate it into the above componentes:
2 pound motor * $.20/pound = $.40
2 pounds aluminum * $.30/pound = $.60
5 pounds stainless steel * $.50/pound = $2.50
21 pounds of steel*$.06/pound= $1.26
equals $4.76. Thats a x2.64 increase in value. If you had 100 fans that you bought for 1.80 each, you could in theory sell them for a profit of $164 just by breaking them. That type of mindset is what makes the scrapping game an entrepreneurial one. 
If you have questions please post comments below.

Minesh February 6, 2014 at 12:00 am


I found this website insightful and interesting…
I am a 2012 college graduate, and am looking to get into the scrap metal business. How would your organization advise me to proceed? Would you be able to connect me with other organizations that could possibly better help me? What do I need to do first?

Thanks for your time

ScrapMetalJunkie February 6, 2014 at 12:16 am

Thanks for reaching out Minesh,

Please email me at with more details about your specific interest. You’re best bet is to spend a whole weekend deciding if this is something worth investigating further. Then spending a few months learning the basics, then moving on from there. Like most things, it takes a clear vision, networking, and sufficient patience. Looking forward to your email,


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