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.


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.


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.

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!