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Weights and Measures: A Few Key Things to Know About Scrapping

Understanding the Scales at a Scrapyard

Most people who scrap for metal go into it as a hobby. They’re handy and looking for something to do in their spare time that will earn a little cash. They love to see how things are built and break them down. Smashing things apart can be a great stress reliever after work, and the hunt for scrap can be a lot of fun. A lot of scrappers may not be in it for the money, but no one wants to leave money on the table, right? Hobbyists and professionals alike are drawn to metal scrapping because there’s always the chance you can have fun doing something you enjoy and make some money at the same time. But you need to know how the money is made first. Understanding how scrapyard scales can maximize your effort and save you from unnecessary tasks.

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How to Set up a Scrapping Workshop in Your Garage - Encore Recyclers - Dallas, TX

How to Set up a Scrapping Workshop in Your Garage

So many people these days are looking for ways to earn a little extra cash. The gig economy in America is booming, but it’s not all roses. Folks driving for ride sharing companies, delivering food, or charging electric scooters put in a lot of work for small returns. They end up feeling like they’ve wasted a lot of time and effort making large companies richer. It’s led a lot of people to reassess what they want out of a side job. More and more they’re searching for how to turn a hobby or something fun into a small money-making venture. Metal scrapping is a great way people who love working with their hands can learn a skill and make some cash.

You Can Make it Work if You’ve Got the Space

Scrapping metal frequently involves taking apart large appliances to separate out valuable copper wires or brass pipes. You’re going to need a place other than the front lawn to store all those appliances and break them apart. A garage is a great place to start a DIY scrapping operation. Park the cars in the driveway so you can put your metal haul inside where it won’t upset the neighbors. Separating ferrous and non-ferrous materials can take time, especially for beginners. Take your time, though, it can be a lot of fun as you learn the ins and outs of different machines.

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How Do Tariffs Affect Scrap Metal Recycling? - Encore Recyclers - Dallas, TX

How Do Tariffs Affect Scrap Metal Recycling?

For the past few years, news outlets have focused intensely on the US government’s proposals for increased tariffs on steel and aluminum. The tariffs are part of his administration’s plan to lower trade deficits with other countries. Government officials hope that implementing tariffs on certain strategic goods will also support domestic industries. A particular focus of the government has been metal tariffs. The United States uses tariffs to charge a premium on imported steel, essentially creating a barrier to entry for foreign steelmakers. Over the course of 2018, US steelmakers saw high demand for domestic steel, that resulted in higher prices in new steel, as well as scrap metal. Scrapyards, professional recyclers and hobbyist scrappers are all watching the tariff situation closely. It’s uncertain what the future holds but understanding the effects of tariffs can help scrap metal recycling industry plan ahead.

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Getting Discouraged by Scrap Metal Recycling - Encore Recyclers - Dallas, TX

Getting Discouraged by Scrapping?

A lot of people make their way into the metal scrapping world thinking they’re going to make it rich and quit their day jobs. Soon they’re facing some of the hard realities of metal scrapping and how hard things can be. They make one mistake, or have a couple bad months and they pack it in. Quitting after a short dry spell isn’t the right approach. Think about all the time you’ve put into getting good at your current career. It’s very rare for someone to find immediate success after starting a new venture. Scrapping’s the same. Good money is made by learning the trade and how to maximize time and earnings. That takes time. Having a realistic attitude about scrapping will help you through the ups and downs as you learn the industry.

It’s All About the Approach

This story’s been told a thousand times. Someone hears about metal scrapping and they go all in. They clear out the garage and spend a lot of money on tubs and tools. Next, they go around town searching for scrap way longer than they should. When things don’t turn out they walk, leaving all that gear in the garage to gather dust. The problem here is the way things started. With metal scrapping, low and slow is the way to go. If you’re a hobbyist scrapper, a basic setup is all you need to get going. When you run into a job you need a special tool for, buy it, but don’t get it before you need it. Allocate a certain amount of time to source scrap so you don’t become obsessive and end up resenting time spent looking. The people who stay in the game are the ones who manage their time, have a process in place, and most of all make scrapping fun.

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Fun Facts About Scrap Metal Recycling

Fun Facts About Scrap Recycling

Want to learn more about scrap recycling? Whether you’re just interested in the process in general or you want to start scrapping for yourself, here are a couple fun facts and tips that a lot of people outside the industry simply don’t know.

1. How Scrap Metal Recycling Protects the Environment

We all have at least a vague idea that recycling in general is good for the environment. Why is it good, though, and how does scrap metal recycling in particular help?

Recycling is good for the environment because almost all recycling takes less energy than the process for creating or mining new materials does. Scrap metal recycling is particularly beneficial because of the huge amounts of energy used to mine, refine, process, and ship metals, as opposed to the relatively tiny amount of energy taken to recycle it.

Scrap metal is also great because most of it can be recycled over and over again with no loss in quality. Glass is similar, but paper and plastic can only be recycled a certain number of times before their quality is too compromised for re-use.

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Should You Take Apart an Item For Scrapping?

Should You Take It Apart?

Everything you take into your local scrap yard should be cleaned and sorted to the best of your abilities: it helps you make the most money, and also ensures the safety of the employees at the scrap yard. It might just impress your local scrap yard (and your scrapping friends), too.

However, sometimes you’ll come across items that are quite challenging—and in some cases even dangerous—to properly take apart. In these situations, you have to ask yourself about your expertise, the tools you have on hand, and your willingness to put in the work. Of course, you’ll also have to consider the additional profits you’ll make from taking an item apart before scrapping it.

Easier Than You Think

There are a lot of things you’ll come across in the scrapping world that seem a lot harder to take apart at first glance than they really are. These are worth taking the time and effort to disassemble properly, because you’ll be able to learn how to do it effectively without a huge amount of effort, and because they’re fairly common items.

Desktop computer towers are a big one: because the technology behind computers is so complicated, we almost automatically assume that it’ll be extraordinarily difficult to disassemble one of these. However, taking apart a computer is a lot easier than designing and building a microprocessor. Best of all, it can be done even if you don’t have many tools around: a simple screwdriver will take you a long way.

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Sell It or Scrap It: An Age-Old Conundrum

Sell It or Scrap It: An Age-Old Conundrum

If you get a scrappable item that’s in good working order—or close enough to it that you feel you could polish it up—it’s often hard to decide whether you should take it down to your local scrap yard or put a little work in and try to sell it yourself.

A lot of items that are still perfectly usable end up in recycling and trash facilities over time, and we all know that reusing is just as good for the environment as recycling. How to decide whether or not an item is good for resale?

Know Yourself

A lot of whether you should scrap an item or fix it up and resell it as something fully functional comes down to your expertise and interests. If you repair computers professionally or as a hobby, there’s a much better chance you can give that old laptop its shine again than if you don’t. The same holds true for a mechanic with an old, beat-up car.

In addition to your own expertise and interests, though, there are a few general rules to follow when it comes to deciding whether to scrap or sell a given item.

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Recycling Auto Parts

Recycling Auto Parts

Whether you need to get rid of an old part you replaced yourself, you own an auto shop, or you simply want to know what happens after you take an entire car to your local scrap yard, here’s a bit of information about what auto parts can be recycled and what can’t.

Old Oil (and Filters, Too!)

The oil change might just be the most common task that amateur home mechanics do themselves rather than taking to the shop. While many people just dump the old oil out, that’s not the most environmentally responsible thing to do.

You won’t get paid for old oil and filters at most scrap yards, but taking them to your local auto parts store can be a great way to ensure they’re reused, or at least disposed of properly. Keep in mind that Texas has banned the practice of accepting used oil filters into landfills. If you take these filters to an auto parts store, oil that’s been through your car can actually be purified and used again in many cases! Some auto stores even run discounts or loyalty programs for recycling oil.

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Weights and Measures: A Few Key Things to Know About Scrapping

Weights and Measures: A Few Key Things to Know About Scrapping

Getting the most out of your recyclable scrap metal often means simply knowing what you have—and part of knowing what you have is knowing your weights and measures, and how they affect your bottom line.

We all know what a pound is, and most of the time when you see scrap metal prices displayed, they’ll be in dollars per pound. However, there’s a lot more that goes into truly understanding scrap metal recycling weights and measures.

Other Measurements You’ll Need to Know

While the pound is the basis of virtually everything in scrap metal recycling prices, you’ll need to take a few other things into account too. For example, with precious metals like gold and silver, you may be more often considering the price per ounce instead of the price per pound, because smaller amounts of these types of metals are more valuable.

Also, if you own a business or are very serious about recycling the heavier scrap metals out there (or if you just hold onto your scrap a long time before bringing it into the yard), you may even see your loads weighed in tons!

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Staying Cool While Scrapping - Garland, TX - Encore Recyclers

Staying Cool While Scrapping

The weather is heating up again, which means it’s important to take some time to think about how to stay cool while you’re gathering and working with scrap. It’s not just a comfort concern, but a safety one as well!

While there are plenty of dangers when it comes to collecting, sorting, and cleaning scrap, overheating is one of the most common ways people injure themselves. Follow some of the tips in this post to keep yourself cool!

Keeping Cool While Gathering Scrap

Staying cool while you’re outdoors collecting scrap can be very challenging. It’s not like you can change the weather whenever you want! On top of that, collecting scrap often involves more physical labor than cleaning or sorting it, unless you have something really difficult to dismantle.

Wearing the proper clothing is one of the best ways to keep yourself cool. Short sleeves and shorts are a no go because they leave your arms and legs exposed to potential hazards like sharp edges, but wearing clothing that isn’t too tight and breathes well can make things a lot easier.

It’s not all about your clothing, though! Taking frequent breaks and drinking lots of water will also help you keep your body temperature down, even if you’re collecting scrap in the heat of the day.

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