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How Scrap Metal Pricing Works

Scrap metal pricing can be mystifying to many scrappers, especially those new to the industry. The truth is rather complicated, but less difficult to grasp than you might think. Knowing a bit more about how scrap prices work can help you get the most for your scrap!

Supply and Demand

The biggest factors affecting scrap metal prices are supply and demand. When more businesses need recycled metal, demand goes up, which drives prices up. When there is more scrap metal on the market than is needed, the supply is too high for prices to rise.

The best time to sell scrap metal is when there is a high demand for it and a low supply generally on the market. If you check scrap metal spot prices regularly, you can see trends, and notice when the market for certain metals goes up or down.

Of course, the thing that makes this difficult is that the supply and demand of one metal fluctuate without much influence from the supply and demand of other metals. The price of copper and the price of stainless steel aren’t necessarily closely related to one another.

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How to Scrap a Stereo - Dallas, TX

How to Scrap a Stereo

When a car or home stereo goes bad, rather than throw it out, it’s worth the effort to take it apart at least a little bit and get at some of the potentially valuable scrap metal inside.

In this post, we’ll give you some tips and tricks to make the process of dismantling a stereo easier. Metals such as copper and even gold (in small amounts) are often available inside stereos, and even the wiring and motherboards can have significant value.

Before beginning to dismantle a stereo or any other appliance or electronic device, it’s important to make sure it is completely disconnected from all power sources. For a home stereo, unplug it from the wall, and cut the cord—this can be sold as insulated wire! Before dismantling a car stereo head unit, remove it from the dashboard. Stay safe, scrappers!

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How to Tell the Difference Between Aluminum and Stainless Steel - Encore Recyclers - Dallas, TX

How to Tell the Difference Between Aluminum and Stainless Steel

Stainless steel and aluminum are both worth collecting, but we all know that their values are different—and, of course, you’re going to get more money for each scrap haul if you sort different types of scrap out from one another. However, telling the difference between aluminum and stainless steel can be very challenging, especially when you’re out in the field without a ton of tools to help you in identifying different metals. Here’s a short, helpful article on how to tell the difference.

General Differences between Aluminum and Stainless Steel

Aluminum is a great deal lighter and more malleable than stainless steel, while stainless steel is generally much stronger. The malleability of aluminum, but its overall lower strength, comes from the fact that it is a much softer metal. This will be important later, as it’s the key factor in the handy tip we’ll give you in the next section of this post.

Both of these metals are so useful because they’re so different—each of them is better than the other for a certain application.

For example, stainless steel‘s strength and corrosion resistance make it ideal for use in the construction field. Aluminum, on the other hand, is one of the primary materials used to make airplanes, because it is so lightweight—obviously a big consideration when you’re making something that’s intended to fly!

The challenge when it comes to identifying aluminum or stainless steel, though, is that they look so similar. A lot of scrappers don’t know how to tell the difference out in the field. However, we’ve found a simple test that a lot of our top scrappers use to determine which is which—and the best part is, it’s very easy to do.

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How to Pick a Scrap Metal Yard - Garland, TX

How to Pick a Scrap Metal Yard

Starting out a scrapping enterprise involves a lot of up-front work besides just gathering scrap, and one important part of that work is the process of choosing a scrap metal yard.

Of course, price is always a factor in choosing a scrap metal yard, but prices are often very similar within a given geographic area, and also fluctuate constantly. While it’s easy enough to find the single yard that usually has the best prices, it’s virtually impossible to find a single yard that always has the best prices for every metal, every time.

However, there are a few other factors that definitely stay more constant—and determining which of them is most valuable to you is the clearest way of choosing the best scrap metal recycling facility to fit your needs.

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Where to Find Copper Wire in Dallas and Garland - Encore Recyclers

Where to Find Copper Wire

Scrap copper is one of our customers’ favorite metals to hunt for, because it’s always in high demand. Even non-scrappers know that copper is a consistently valuable material. One of the most common ways to find copper is in the form of copper wire.

The Most Common Places to Find Copper Wire

One of the most common places to find copper wire is along with electronics. Whether you have some old computers you’re taking apart for their e-scrap value or a broken television set you’re having trouble getting rid of, it’s worth the time to do some basic dismantling to get valuable copper wire separated from other materials.

The easiest place to find insulated copper wire is in power cords of electronics. Even if you don’t have many tools or much experience taking apart electronics, you can probably cut a power cord—just be sure to take all the proper safety precautions while doing so.

A single power cord might not seem like it’ll bring a lot of value, but saving your insulated copper wire in a bucket or storage bin can lead to a pretty nice payday when it comes time to take all your scrap down to the yard.

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Where to Find E-Waste - Encore Recyclers - Garland, TX

Where to Find E-Waste

E-waste is a growing market, and plenty of scrappers want to get in. However, beyond your own old electronics, e-waste can be hard to find. Also, many scrappers don’t yet know how to make the most money from each piece of e-waste. Here are some helpful tips to help you take your e-waste scrapping game to the next level!

Finding E-Waste

As more and more electronics are manufactured every year, the supply of e-waste increases. However, it’s not always easy to find. As demand increases while manufacturers find new ways to convert e-waste into usable material, it’s likely to become even harder to find viable sources of e-waste.

That being said, there are of course good places to find e-waste. Yard sales and flea markets can occasionally provide good hauls, so if you already check there for other scrap materials, it’s worth looking over old electronics too. Particularly at garage sales, if you wait till the end of the day, some sellers will be willing to let things go for free.

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Minimizing Transportation Costs while Scrapping

Minimizing Transportation Costs While Scrapping

We scrap because it’s fun and it’s great for the environment and economy, sure, but we also scrap because it makes us money. However, transportation costs can really eat into a scrapper’s income. While it’s impossible to mitigate scrapping transportation costs entirely, there are plenty of ways to reduce these costs.

Reducing cost can be divided neatly into two key areas. Learning and thinking critically a bit about each area can save you a ton of money—meaning that you keep more of what you earn right in your pocket. These two areas are saving money while picking up scrap and saving money while selling scrap. Each is important, and each can be approached in its own way.

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How to Find Free Scrap Metal on Craigslist

How to Find Free Scrap Metal on Craigslist

Hunting for scrap in your neighborhood can be fun, but it certainly isn’t easy. Between the difficulty of finding the scrap and the occasional awkwardness of asking if it’s okay to take the scrap, scrap hunters spend a lot more time searching for metal than they often do preparing and selling it.

While looking for the next great piece of scrap is part of the thrilling adventure of scrapping, sometimes you want an easier way. Maybe you’re looking to boost your scrap income to the next level, or maybe you’re new to scrap metal recycling and want an easier way to get some experience.

The answer can be searching on Craigslist for free scrap. Craigslist is a powerful tool that has changed a lot of local industries, but seems to have an exceptionally large impact on the scrap market. That being said, you need to know how to use it in order to reap the benefits.

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How to Identify Brass (And Where to Find It)

While there are a variety of recyclable scrap metals out there, they are not all equal in value—and brass, as one of the higher-paying scrap metals, is in high demand at both the industry level and for individual scrappers. That being said, brass isn’t always easy to find or to identify. With the right knowledge, though, finding brass and separating it from other metals can be a lot easier.

How to Identify Brass

Brass is a shiny, yellow-gold metal that is quite durable and also often used for decorative purposes. It looks a lot like copper at first glance, but brass has a few unique characteristics that set it apart.

First of all, brass is not magnetic. A magnet is a key tool for any scrapper, as it allows for the easiest identification and separation of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, which have different values and are often processed differently at the yard.

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Future of Scrap Metal Recycling - Dallas, TX

The Future of Scrap Metal Recycling

It’s amazing how much the scrap metal recycling industry—and the world at large—has changed in the past 20 or 30 years. Knowing how much things have changed already, it’s impossible not to think about what the industry and our planet will be like 20 or 30 years into the future.

Predicting the future is a tough business, but there are plenty of people—from scrap collectors to environmental activists to corporate executives—who are interested in knowing where scrap metal recycling is going.

With all the data we have access to today, combined with experience and know-how in the world of scrap, many of us think we know where things are headed. The good news is that, though there are a few challenges, the future of scrap metal recycling looks very bright.

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