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Penny Scrapping Controversy - Dallas, TX

PENNY SCRAPPING CONTROVERSY

One of the biggest areas of contention in the scrap metal community involves the collection of copper pennies. Here’s some background on the subject to help you form your own opinions. But let us state clearly at the very beginning: scrapping or melting down a copper penny to be scrapped is currently illegal.

Why People Collect Copper Pennies

As many scrap metal enthusiasts know, copper is a fairly valuable metal. Because of this, older pennies that contain copper are often considered to be worth more than their face value in scrap metal. Many estimate that each copper penny is worth about one and a half cents, though this fluctuates every day with the market value of copper.

However, melting these pennies down is illegal, meaning that they are not viable for scrapping at this time. Despite this, many scrap metal and coin collecting enthusiasts collect copper pennies, hoping that the ban on melting them down will be lifted in the near future.

Because of the significant enthusiasm around the collection of copper pennies, many collectors end up paying a premium on copper pennies. This is not worth the money in most cases for several reasons.

The first is that copper pennies are readily available at face value. The second is that there is no guarantee that the ban on melting pennies down will ever be lifted. The third is that copper pennies are not pure copper; rather, they consist of 95% unrefined copper.

While paying a premium for copper pennies is not a good idea, you may think it’s worth your time to get copper pennies in other ways. Simply picking up a roll or box of pennies at your local bank could net you a few copper pennies, for example, if you take the time to sort them.

While there is no guaranteed return on this investment because the ban may never be lifted, you also cannot lose money “buying” pennies at face value. Some scrap and coin collectors don’t think sorting through the pennies is worth the time, while others think it is a fun hobby and a good way to find rarer pennies that fetch good sums of money on the open market.

Where to Find Copper Pennies

Almost any penny made before 1982, and some pennies from the year 1982, are made of 95% copper. If you’re interested in collecting pennies for their copper scrap value, these are the pennies to look out for.

Copper Penny Collection Dos and Don’ts

If you decide to start collecting copper pennies, please follow this list of suggestions. This will help you maximize the potential return on your investment and keep you from breaking any laws regarding the scrapping of currency.

DO separate pre-1982 pennies from post-1982 pennies.

DO investigate any pennies from the year 1982 more closely—some of these are copper as well!

DO get pennies from a legitimate source such as a bank (or, look for copper pennies in your pocket change!)

DO keep your pennies secure. They are real currency, and you’re also choosing to treat them as an investment.

DO NOT pay a premium for copper pennies, unless the coins have value for some other reason (such as rarity or collectability).

DO NOT attempt to sell pennies to a scrap metal recycler.

DO NOT melt pennies down yourself and try to sell the resultant material to a scrap recycler. Scrap recyclers know their metals, and will report you to the relevant authorities.

DO NOT expect full “spot price” for your pennies if they become legal to scrap. They are only 95% copper, and this copper is “unrefined.”

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Scrap Metal Recycling Costs and Benefits - Dallas, TX

DO RECYCLING COSTS OUTWEIGH THE BENEFITS?

Many often wonder whether or not recycling costs may actually cancel out the environmental benefits. This is especially true for scrap metal recycling, which is more difficult for individuals and expensive for industry in most cases, than plastic or cardboard recycling is.

A true cost-benefit analysis that takes all factors into consideration, though, will always show that the benefits of recycling, including scrap metal recycling, truly do outweigh recycling costs—for individuals, the recycling industry, and the planet.

Let’s take a closer look at this by focusing on the costs and benefits of recycling in great detail, so you can decide if scrap metal recycling costs—or the cost of any other form of recycling—outweigh the negatives.

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Top 3 Things You Didn't Know About Scrap Metal Recycling on Construction Sites

TOP 3 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT SCRAP METAL RECYCLING ON CONSTRUCTION SITES

Every responsible construction business has two goals: make a profit and limit its negative impact on the environment. The same goes for demolition crews.

One of the best ways to protect the environment while offsetting the cost of equipment and labor on a given job is to recycle scrap metal with a local Dallas scrap recycler.

Most construction crew leaders know about scrap recycling, but many worry about cost, quality, and time. Here are some of the top things most construction and demolition business owners don’t know about the scrap recycling industry—and some of the ways having this knowledge can benefit you, your team, and our planet.

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Recycle Steel Scrap Metal in Dallas, Texas

HOW TO RECYCLE STEEL IN DALLAS, TEXAS

Recycling steel is great for the environment, and it’s also one of the most valuable metals to recycle. If you want to make some extra money recycling metal, or you’re just interested in how scrap metal recycling works, steel is a great place to start learning.

What is steel?

 Steel is a highly versatile metal made by mixing iron with materials such as carbon. Because it is an alloy, or a metal made from a chemical mixture, it can be made in a wide variety of ways for different applications. It’s used in everything from household appliances like refrigerators and washer-dryers to cars to firearms to aviation and manufacturing equipment. There’s even plenty of steel being used under the ocean and in space right now!

Steel is also one of the best materials in the world to recycle. Because steel is so widely used, it is always worth something—and because it consists of so much iron, very little material is lost during the recycling process. This means that used steel appliances and components can easily be recycled into new steel appliances and components, which helps offset the environmental impact of mining new iron and producing new steel.

Because it’s one of the most valuable and eco-friendly metals to recycle, it is also the most widely recycled material—metal or otherwise—in the world. In the United States in 2000, over 60 million metric tons of steel were recycled. As recently as 2008, 83% of US steel was recycled.

Even though there’s a high supply, though, there’s an even higher demand for steel. This means that recycling your scrap steel can make you money while you help protect the environment at the same time.

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Scrap Metal Recycling Benefits For Small Business - Dallas, TX

SCRAP METAL RECYCLING BENEFITS FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Dallas scrap metal recycling facilities offer huge benefits for small businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. No matter what kind of business you own, you probably have some recyclable scrap metal—meaning you can make some extra money while improving the environment.

Dallas Aluminum Can Recycling

Aluminum can recycling is often the simplest and fastest of the many recycling services offered at Encore. Whether you’re a restaurant or bar owner who goes through thousands of cans a day, or you’d just like to get a bit of extra money for the cans employees use in the break room, recycling aluminum cans is a great way to make extra money for your business quickly.

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What determines the value of scrap metal? Dallas, TX

WHAT DETERMINES THE PRICE OF SCRAP METAL?

Scrap metal price is determined by the type of metal, location, quantity, and current market value. Copper sells for more than aluminum; scrap metal sells for more here in Dallas than in Mumbai, India; and a ton of scrap metal will sell for more than a few pounds.

As for current market value, you can follow the “spot price” of a given metal. Spot price is the price that companies pay for pure ingots of a metal. Kitco offers several helpful charts showing the current and historical market spot price for various popular metals here: http://www.kitcometals.com/charts/copper.html

Scrap metal categories determine price

Copper, lead, stainless steel, and most of the other metals we recycle fall into various categories that are used to determine value. Copper can be subcategorized into Bare Bright Copper, Copper #1, Copper #2, Copper #3, for example. Aluminum can be subcategorized as Cast Aluminum, Sheet Aluminum, Aluminum Cans, Extruded Aluminum, and the list goes on. Sometimes these subcategories are obvious, but sometimes there can be some controversy. One scrap metal recycler may classify your copper as Bare Bright Copper, while another classifies it as Copper #1. One may grade your metal as cast aluminum, while another grades it as “pot metal”—which is worth about 40% less!

For more information about scrap metal categories, take a look at our “Metals We Buy” page.

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How to Get Started as a Scrap Metal Recycler - Dallas, TX

LOOKING FOR EXTRA INCOME? THINK ABOUT SCRAP METAL RECYCLING

Not only is scrap metal recycling a responsible thing to do as natural resources become depleted, it can also be a profitable endeavor for scrap metal recyclers. Businesses often find it more profitable to create products from recycled materials, and a scrap metal recycler forms a valuable link in the supply chain to divert these materials from landfills back into the manufacturing cycle.

First, find your scrap metal:

In most cases, you’ll be looking for metal—anything from aluminum cans to old pipes to electrical wiring. But Encore Recyclers also takes e-waste, such as cell phones, computer circuit boards, and other electronic materials. We also accept neoprene, a rubbery product manufactured by Dupont to make scuba suits, cases for electronics, and medical braces.

If you’re a business, think about collecting unwanted objects from your offices or clients to recycle. Plumbers, general contractors, and carpenters will often find used appliances, metal pipes, discarded siding, and other pieces of metal that are suitable for recycling. As an individual, think about recycling broken bicycles, metal tools, and old appliances. In Dallas, it’s popular for people to pick up scrap materials on bulky trash pickup day. You can find the bulk trash pickup day for any given neighborhood here: http://dallascityhall.com/departments/sanitation/Pages/brush_and_bulky.aspx

Encore Recyclers will accept almost any metal object, as long as it does not contain dangerous chemicals or is radioactive.

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How to Recycle Your Scrap Metal for the Best Price - Dallas, TX

GETTING READY TO RECYCLE YOUR SCRAP METAL

After you’ve finished a demolition or other project, you may wish to recycle your scrap metal. Scrap metal is not biodegradable, so it’s ideal for recycling. And while Encore Recyclers will buy your metal when mixed together, you may be able to achieve a better price for your scrap by separating out your scrap metals and doing a little prep work, such as removing plastic, rubber, or other contaminants. Read on to learn how to best separate and prep your scrap materials.

Clean your scrap metal

First, remove any contaminants, such as dirt, plastic, rubber, or other metals. The consumer mills that we sell to in bulk will only take clean, uncontaminated scrap metal that they can put directly into their furnaces. If we receive scrap that is free of contaminants, we are better able to pass the labor savings onto you.

For cars and other vehicles

Most scrap companies, including Encore Recyclers, will accept entire battery assemblies and entire catalytic converters. Electric motor parts can also be recycled. The field windings (parts with copper wire wound around) should be separated out from the iron and steel for the best price (armatures are very difficult to separate and might need to be chiseled out). The same goes for starters and alternators. Copper or brass radiators from older cars are valuable for scrap; you can identify copper by its bluish-green patina or by scraping the flanges of the radiator and looking for the reddish hue characteristic of copper. Aluminum radiators common in newer cars are not as valuable as coppers ones, but are still worth recycling. Heater cores are brass or aluminum radiators that can be recycled as scrap metal. With all of these parts, you can maximize the value of your scrap by removing pieces of plastic, insulation, and extraneous metals.

Separate ferrous from non-ferrous metals

Iron, steel and other ferrous metals are magnetic. For smaller pieces of metal, you may even be able to lift them out of piles of scrap metal with a large magnet.

Separate non-magnetic, stainless steel

Stainless steel is alloy containing chromium. It has a dull shine and is heavier than chrome- or nickel-plated steel. Sometimes, it may be slightly magnetic. If you do find stainless steel that’s magnetic, you should add it to your ferrous metals.

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Selling Insulated Copper Wire Scrap for the Highest Price in Dallas, TX

SHOULD YOU BURN YOUR COPPER WIRE TO EARN MORE MONEY FOR SCRAP?

Spoiler alert: NO!

We saw a disturbing video of a man advocating the burning of insulated copper wire, purportedly to qualify the wire as Copper #2, which brings a higher sale value when sold as scrap than insulated wire. Please don’t do this.

Burning insulated wire in Texas is ILLEGAL under the federal Clean Air Act.

Burning copper wire is not a safe way to release the copper inside it. Burning copper wire releases carcinogens and toxins into the air and into the ground around the burn site, including “dioxins, furans, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, particulate matter, heavy metals (such as lead, arsenic, selenium and cadmium) and other pollutants.”

You might wonder how burning copper wire yourself is different from the industrial process used to reclaim copper from insulated wire. It’s true that heat is also used to strip copper wire in a commercial setting. There is a big difference between holding copper wire over a flame, as an amateur might do, and a factory that uses the intense heat of an industrial incinerator and appropriate venting procedures. Burning insulated copper wire yourself releases toxins that can damage your nervous system, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system, not to mention increasing your risk of cancer.

Fines and punishment for not following this code are steep. You could face fines in the tens of thousands of dollars or even jail time. If someone should catch you burning insulated wire, they can report you for a reward.

This blog post from Scrap Metal Junkie breaks down the foolishness of burning copper wire for economic purposes.

Say for example that #1 copper scrap is worth 2.60 per pound, scrap insulated wire is worth $1.20 per pound, and burned wire is worth $2.20 per pound… For a pile of wire that weighs under 100 lbs, there is NO reason to burn it.

If you burned 100 lbs of insulated copper wire copper wire, and you end up with less than 60 pounds of burned copper, then that means you have broken even…(When you burn copper wire, it loses about half its weight, depending on the type of wire.)

On the other hand, if you were to strip the same wire, you would make at least $31!

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Best prices for aluminum cans and scrap metal - Dallas, TX

RECYCLING ALUMINUM CANS

Did you know that aluminum used to be considered such a rare and precious commodity that Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, had a rattle and other toys made of aluminum, as a status symbol? Even though aluminum is the third most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, at the time it was extremely difficult to produce. In fact, aluminum was was selected as the material to use for the 100-ounce capstone of the Washington Monument in 1884, a time when one ounce cost the daily wage of a common worker on the project. The capstone, which was set in place on December 6, 1884, was the largest single piece of cast aluminum  at the time.

When you think of recycling, aluminum cans are often the first item to come to mind. It makes sense, since aluminum cans are perhaps the most sustainable beverage container available. Not only are they extremely lightweight and easily stacked (try stacking glass bottles!) for efficiency in transport, but they are easily reclaimed. According to the Aluminum Association, approximately 70% of every aluminum consists of recycled aluminum.

Here are some additional facts about aluminum cans that you might not have known:

  • More than 50 percent of the aluminum cans produced is recycled.
  • A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can in as little as 60 days.
  • Every minute, an average of 113,204 aluminum cans are recycled.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.
  • Tossing away an aluminum can wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline.
  • Aluminum is a durable and sustainable metal: Two-thirds of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today.

Other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.

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