Scrapping Metals and Other Raw Materials for a Big Profit

You, like Jeff Friend, can make a profit off of scrapping in your local dumps for raw materials by following these instructions.

| March/April 1978

  • Old Radiator
    Old radiators are good examples of saleable cast iron perfect for scrapping.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Two Happy Scrappers
    Two happy guys scrapping some metal for a few welcome extra bucks.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Bronze Scrap Metal
    Bronze, also known as red metal, is a worthwhile scrap metal to be looking for while out scrapping. We’ll also discuss brass, copper, cast iron and much more.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Junk Copper
    Examples of No. 1 and No. 2 junk copper that will fetch a high price with junk dealers.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Scrap Metal in Trash Barrel
    Scrap metal can be found in many different places including trash barrels, dumps, around old barns and on construction sites.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Scrap Metal in Wheelbarrow
    A wheelbarrow full of scrap aluminum.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS
  • Scrap Steel
    Scrap steel is plentiful in many dumps if you know what you're looking for.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 050-119-01-howto_04
    Samples of different scrap metals which can be found basically anywhere that you can get permission to "clean up" an eyesore in return for carting off the recyclable materials that you are after.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 050-tab1m
    This table shows the prices paid for each scrap metal in Virginia in April of 1977.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Weighing of the Scrap Metal
    Small quantities of scrap metal are weighed on a roll-around platform scale at a dealer's yard.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Yellow Brass
    Yellow brass is a tricky metal to identify because it often resembles red brass.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • 050-tab2m
    This "Metal Identification Chart" is a quick guide for how to distinguish the different scrap metals from each other and other raw materials.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • Old Radiator
  • Two Happy Scrappers
  • Bronze Scrap Metal
  • Junk Copper
  • Scrap Metal in Trash Barrel
  • Scrap Metal in Wheelbarrow
  • Scrap Steel
  • 050-119-01-howto_04
  • 050-tab1m
  • Weighing of the Scrap Metal
  • Yellow Brass
  • 050-tab2m

You may not believe this, but for the last 12 years, I've been turning brass, aluminum, copper, iron, steel and lead into gold. No, I'm not an alchemist ... I'm what's known in the trade as a junker. I comb the local dumps (and the countryside) in search of scrap metal, then sell that scrap to dealers who are willing to pay me anywhere from $1.75 to $40 per 100-pound load of the material.

I've found that scrapping can add $50 to my monthly income with only the slightest amount of effort and equipment, and I can tell you from experience that as a full-time pursuit metals scavenging can bring a person well over $500 a month. I'm definitely hooked on junking because not only is it a dependable source of extra cash for the maintenance of my homestead but also it enables me to be self-employed whenever I want; I like the good feeling I get when I recycle a "useless" piece of metal (and leave the area that it came from cleaned up).

One of scrapping's biggest attractions is that it requires little or no start-up capital, special tools or prior experience. (There certainly is no shortage of raw materials: In today's throw-it-away society, junk abounds.) Anyone who has a few common tools, a car or truck, a little storage space and a moderate amount of initiative can get started in the metal-recycling business right away.

Equipment

Before you get started, you'll need a small magnet (the ordinary "five-and-ten" kind will do OK) and a file (I use a 2- to 3-incher, such as is commonly used to file ignition points). Both file and magnet should fit easily into a pocket so that you can tote them with you at all times.



Other tools that come in handy include: wire cutters, a regular and a Phillips screwdriver, Vise-Grip pliers, regular pliers and a hammer. Additional tools will sometimes be useful — especially when you're taking junk off an old car — but you can deal with most types of scrap metal with just the implements listed above. (Hint: You'll find it pays to stash a "junking toolbag" in your car or truck.)

Contrary to what you might think, you do not need a truck to make it in the scrapping business. To be sure, large loads of scrap iron are easier to transport in a pickup than in a passenger car, but the fact is you can fit two or three feed sacks full of copper (each worth about $50) into most any car ... even a VW.






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