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What to Know About Scrap Metal Yards Near Me

Scrap metal yards are essential to many industries, as they can provide a place to get rid of or pick up spare metal for projects. But they can also be incredibly useful for everyday people ‒ namely as a way to earn some extra cash for any scrap metal you have on hand.

There might be several questions you're asking when it comes to scrap metal yards in your area. Are there any scrap metal buyers near me? Where can I sell scrap metal for cash near me? What do I need to know about scrap metal yards near me open today? I'm trying to be more eco-friendly, so are there scrap metal recycling yards near me?

Yes, there are many questions to ask when it comes to finding the best scrap metal yard near you to work with, but it doesn't have to be that challenging of a process.

In this article, we'll answer all of the questions you could possibly ask about scrap metal yards, from what they are and who they work with to what you can do to donate to them.

What Do Scrap Metal Yards Near Me Do?

The primary business model of scrap metal yards is to pay cash for scrap metal, which they typically buy in order to recycle. Scrap metal yards will pay for metal by the pound, although the precise amount depends on the market value of a given metal at that moment.

From there, scrap metal yards supply metals to steel mills and manufacturing industries to make a profit. Those mills and manufacturers break down the metals and integrate them into consumer products.

The upshot is that scrap metal yards aren't just great for your wallet ‒ they're essential to the recycling industry! The primary purpose of a scrap metal yard is to ensure the metal it collects isn't wastefully thrown away but instead put back to use in new metal products.

Countless hours, dollars, and carbon emissions can be saved by donating to a scrap metal yard. This is especially helpful in the case of electronics, which use metals that are expensive to extract and install (more on that in a moment).

Most scrap metal yards categorize metals into three types: ferrous, nonferrous, and electronic.

Ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, and more; ferrous metals include products made with iron, including standard steel and cast iron; and electronic metals include platinum, gold, and silver.

Who Does Business with Scrap Metal Yards?

Scrap metal yards work with a whole spectrum of people, businesses, and agencies, including tradesmen, contractors, machine shops, governments, and even ordinary car owners and homeowners with some spare metal.

The most common clients for scrap metal yards are tradesmen, such as electricians, plumbers, and construction specialists, who might donate the metal they have left from a project.

Of course, the most frequent buyers at scrap metal yards tend to be the organizations that deal in metal. These might include companies that manufacture items such as electronics (which require platinum, gold, and silver to function), construction materials, kitchenware, and other goods.

It's cheaper (and sometimes more convenient) for these organizations to buy metal directly from a scrap metal yard, as they can circumvent the costs associated with the extraction and transportation of raw metal.

Other scrap metal yard customers might include metal dealers, who buy and sell metals to other organizations, and trade businesses, which use metal for construction, home improvement, and auto maintenance.

Of course, homeowners can also use scrap metal yards to donate scrap metal from around their homes or even vehicles. Read on to learn more about how you can find metals in your home that you might be able to donate to a scrap metal yard.

What Metals Can I Sell to Scrap Metal Yards Near Me?

You can sell a wide variety of metal to scrap metal yards near you, broken down into the aforementioned categories. While some of these metals are only found in commercially available items (called industrial or commercial scrap), many can also be found throughout your home (called residential or retail scrap).

Ferrous metals ("ferrous" comes from the Latin word for iron) include mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and wrought iron. You might find these materials in cans, tools, kitchen appliances, cast iron pots and pans, washing machines, and even some plumbing implements. 

Categorizing ferrous metals together is particularly helpful for processing materials in scrap metal yards since most ferrous metals are magnetic. When these items are being broken down for recycling, scrap metal yards can use giant electromagnets to move and manipulate large piles of ferrous metals. Ferrous metals are also common in cars, as well as construction materials and railroad scrap.

Nonferrous metals don't include iron, such as bronze, copper, brass, lead, nickel, tin, titanium, and zinc. You might find them in piping, bike frames, metal baseball bats, copper appliances, and equipment made of alloys. Among these, the most valuable is copper, which can be used for various purposes once sold.

Nonferrous metals are incredibly sustainable because the recycling process doesn't chemically alter them. Although nonferrous metals make up a smaller portion of the metal recycling industry, they do account for a significant percentage of industry profits, so it might be possible you can get more money for them at a scrap metal yard.

Finally, you can sell electronic metals, including copper, lithium, tin, silver, gold, nickel, and aluminum, all found in the household items above. These metals are very electrically conductive, meaning they can be extracted and repurposed for new electronics, provided they're intact.

But scrap metal yards can accept even more scrap metal items, including whole vehicles, electronics (called e-scrap), home appliances, and construction debris. Consult with a local scrap metal yard to learn more about what it might accept.

In terms of value, copper is frequently the most prized; for this reason, you might want to separate your copper from your other metals to score some extra cash. Brass is slightly less valuable for scrap metal yards and can be found in household items such as keys, doorknobs, and bathroom fixtures. While commonly found in household items or vehicles, aluminum and steel don't typically fetch much money at scrap metal yards.

There are only a few types of metals that scrap metal yards generally won't accept, but these are primarily radioactive or toxic materials, such as uranium and mercury. Otherwise, scrap metal yards are a fantastic resource for disposing of metal waste.

Where to Find Scrap Metal Yards Nearby

If you want to find a scrap metal yard, you're in luck ‒ they're located throughout the nation! You'll usually find scrap metal yards in urban and suburban areas, especially near businesses, firms, and manufacturers in the trade industry.

You might also consider looking around industrial areas of your community, as these areas will be sure to traffic heavily in metals. Even if there isn't a scrap metal yard especially close to you, a trip to an urban area might be close enough that it's worth making a big trip with lots of metals.

More generally, one of the best ways to find scrap metal yards in your area is to do an internet search. You're likely to find many results and can assess customer ratings. On the other hand, online tools will allow you to locate a scrap metal yard near you and evaluate its services.

When Are Scrap Metal Yards Open?

Scrap metal yards function much like other businesses. They're typically open on weekdays and, most importantly, likely will have a specific cut-off time for the last weigh-in of the day. If you're afraid of cutting it close, check in with your local scrap metal yard to confirm its hours of operation.

During the weekends, scrap metal yards typically operate on shortened hours. Again, make sure to check in advance ‒ some scrap metal yards might not be open Sundays or at all during the weekends.

What Happens in Scrap Metal Yards?

The process of selling metal to a scrap metal yard is very straightforward. Customers bring in their scrap metal, and the metal is weighed based on its type. The yard then pays customers according to the scrap metal price per pound, which varies depending on the market.

Before bringing in your scrap metal, it's helpful to contact the scrap metal yard to confirm what kinds of metal it accepts and how pricing works. After that information is clarified, be sure to separate the metal waste from other materials (such as plastic) as much as you can before bringing the scrap to the yard. Doing so will make sure your metal is pure and recyclable.

And don't forget to bring a form of identification. Most reputable scrap metal yards will want to see ID to reduce the risk of purchasing stolen goods, and they can be fairly stringent about this policy. 

Once you bring your scrap metal to the scrap metal yard and it is weighed, you will be given some kind of ticket or paperwork to confirm the weight and cost of the metal sold, which can then be cashed in. 

After the scrap metal yard acquires the material, it sorts the metal based on type using tools such as magnets and spectrometers. The metals will be processed and sold differently based on type, so the scrap metal yard must sort the material before breaking it down.

Subsequently, scrap metal is processed out of the form that you brought it ‒ it's shredded into small pieces, melted into liquid form, purged of any impurities, and then resolidified. Since scrap metal yards are given orders ahead of time for different kinds of scrap, they already know the shape and composition that their customers requested. 

However, some scrap metal yards don't have the equipment to process scrap metal, so they keep it in a more amorphous form and send it elsewhere to steel mills or manufacturing plants.

In any case, after scrap metal is processed, it's kept in the yard until it's sold, often to foundries, smelters, and other industrial companies that will use the metal to make new products. It's through this process that useless metal finds new life!

What Other Services Do Scrap Metal Yards Near Me Provide?

In addition to buying and selling metal, scrap metal yards offer clients a wide variety of services.

For one, some offer pick-up and drop-off services, which allow you to conveniently sell your metal based on your schedule (an especially useful feature if your metal is too large to transfer). In many cases, this is an extra boon for you since most municipal trash departments don't often pick up scrap metal.

Additionally, scrap metal yards offer dismantling and demolition services. This is useful for when you have an appliance that contains metal but you're not able to take it apart on your own, or for pieces that are too large to easily move.

Another service scrap metal yards offer is shipping and delivery. This tends to be useful to send metals to potential customers throughout the country ‒ which is a piece of good news for customers because it ensures they'll be able to resell your metal to industries that aren't located near you.

Finally, many scrap metal yards offer metal containers and dumpster rentals. If a client has a large volume of scrap metal to sell, they can use these rentals to collect all of that metal at once to donate it to the scrap metal yard.

Final Thoughts

Scrap metal yards are an essential part of the recycling industry, allowing those with spare metal ‒ whether appliances, vehicles, industrial metals, electronics, and more ‒ to sell their metal and allow it to be recycled. This means you can help the environment, all while earning a profit!

The even better news is that scrap metal yards are widely distributed and easily accessible. With that in mind, it should be easy enough to find a scrap metal yard near you, learn how to bring your metal there, and get it traded in to earn some cash.

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