What Scrap Metal Dealers Want the Most

What Scrap Metal Dealers Want the Most
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    If you're doing some renovations on your home, you may find that you have some unwanted metal items left over—perhaps some old wiring, some now-unwanted fixtures, or perhaps even some wrought iron.


Because you’re looking forward, not backward, you may be inclined to throw it all away. But this material shouldn’t just go to the garbage dump. Instead, there’s an entire billion-dollar industry dedicated to collecting and recycling scrap metal.

You may have some valuable metal on your hands. Before you load up the rented dumpster, see what scrap metal dealers want the most and find out whether you can recoup some cash in your next renovation project.

Ferrous Metals

A ferrous metal is simply any metal alloy that includes the element iron, or “ferrum” in Latin. The most common ferrous metal is steel, which is formed by combining iron with carbon.

You may also encounter wrought iron, which is a much purer alloy of iron. Railings, banisters, and other decorative elements around the home are often made of wrought iron.

Ferrous metals are strong and versatile, but their strength and versatility are also what makes them so plentiful.

With iron and steel being in no short supply, scrap dealers won’t pay dollar for them. Still, you could take your ferrous metals to a dealer who will ensure proper recycling of these materials and reduce, in your own small part, the need for the world to mine more iron ore.


On the other hand, the non-ferrous metals could provide you with more value than their ferrous counterparts. Aluminum is a non-ferrous metal, but not a terribly valuable one—you may remember collecting your old soda cans to redeem for cash and not being impressed with the results.

However, you can make up for low value with high volume: aluminum gutters, siding, and doors could be worth a lot more to you than a garbage bag full of cans.

garden metal artmetal sun garden stake

      some metal ideas to consider      

Copper and Brass

Copper is where you can really impress your local scrap dealer. You may have heard stories about people buying abandoned houses in cities simply to strip the copper wiring and piping for scrap.

While that may not be an investment you’re ready or able to make, you can still procure good value for copper that’s no longer needed in your home. You probably won’t find large quantities of brass in your home, but this dense alloy of copper and zinc is valuable to dealers as well.


Not only can lead be a valuable non-ferrous metal, it’s also one that you should try to remove from your home’s piping system. Though the adverse health effects of lead are well-known, its malleability still makes it useful in a great number of varied applications, and scrap dealers will be glad to take it off your hands. You can put the money you get for lead into copper or PVC replacements.

other valuable tips:

Though you won’t make a fortune salvaging metal from your renovation project, learning what scrap metal dealers want the most could help you put a few dollars back in your wallet. And as any renovator knows, every dollar counts.

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