There are few places in life more charmingly apocalyptic than the modern-day scrap yard. Servicing businesses large and small, as well as everyday folks trying to recycle, scrap yards are the beginning link in the metal recycling chain. The seemingly chaotic buzzing of workers, forklifts, dump trucks and patrons is actually the sound of a century old industry raking in $80 billion annual revenues in the US alone.
What is a Waste Stream?
No matter what industry you work in, there is always some type of waste material, or material that is leftover after a process or operation. At the end of the day, you may be left with several different types of waste materials. This is called a waste stream.
Every person and every company has a waste stream. Some of the waste materials are non-recyclable, like food waste, pollution, or bio-hazardous waste. On the other hand, most of the waste stream is recyclable! Anything from corrugated paper, plastic bottles, and of course scrap metal, are all highly recyclable waste materials. It is much easier to grind old paper than to cut down a tree, and it is much easier to melt an old aluminum can that to mine and refine bauxite; that is why scrap yards exist.
What are Scrap Yards for?
The purpose of a scrap yard is to buy scrap metal (and sometimes other waste materials) at competitive prices so value can be pulled out of a waste stream. The scrap yard will buy the material by the pound — or by the ton — and will pay you depending on what type of material you are selling. Most trips to the scrap yard involve selling more than one type of scrap metal.
A scrap yard, essentially, is a waste material broker. Their main reason for existing is to correctly and reliably funnel different types of materials to different refiners. They buy scrap metals in small quantities, gather large amounts in a scrap heap, and then sell it all for more money to refineries. (Refineries will only buy large volumes of scrap metal by contract from a well-established supplier.)
What is Scrap Metal?
Scrap metal refers to any number of metal waste materials, and is often the result of industrial, construction, demolition or repair processes involving metal or metal products. Some simple examples of scrap metal categories are steel, aluminum, copper, stainless steel, electric motors and compressors.
A scrap yard is very interested in buying the many common types of scrap metals found in waste streams today. Old copper wire, broken appliances, and scrap automobiles all get bought for different prices at the scrap yard. You’ll notice that they do not contain entirely metal.
Cars, refrigerators, and computers are all examples of things sold at a scrap yard despite having small to medium amounts of contamination.
Scrap metal recycling is the most profitable form of recycling, and, for this reason, is sometimes overlooked in discussions on the matter of recycling and waste stream management. If your office takes the time to recycle paper or cardboard, it needs to recycle old computers, broken tools, or aluminum cans too.
How to Sell Scrap Metal:
The process for selling scrap metal is straight forward, but it’s best to go to the scrap yard knowing as much as possible.
- Sort Your Metal: This is done before you get to the scrap yard. Look over the different categories of scrap metal and channel your scrap into corresponding buckets and containers. Nobody at the scrap yard, including the employees, will want to show you any mercy if your material isn’t sorted correctly. They will simply pay you the price of the cheapest material you left unsorted. Everybody sees not sorting your materials as a huge waste of their time, including the people waiting in line behind you!
- Drive to The Scrap Yard w/ your ID: This is most easily done with a truck or trailer. Make sure you have everything strapped down and secured or you will get ticketed (or worse)! The scrap yard needs your ID to verify your age, track what you sell, and to check your name against the state police’s “blacklist” of metal thieves.
- Unload your Scrap Metal: Keeping things as organized as possible, you will unload your scrap metal by whatever process the scrap yard chooses. Almost all scrap yards will have a truck scale to weigh your vehicle and a small scale for weighing buckets, pallets, or small containers. If it is your first time at a particular scrap yard, talk to an employee before unloading anything.
- Ask questions: This is pretty simple; but, if not done tactfully, it may cause you more harm than good. It’s ok that you don’t know something, but avoid seeming helpless. It is a balancing act of not seeming naïve, but still asking as many questions as possible. Research Scrap Metal as much as you can before departing for the scrap yard.
- Get weighed: Your scrap metals will all get weighed one-at-a-time, category by category. You will then be given a paper slip which you cash out at the nearby pay window.
- Get Paid: You get paid more for having more metal. You get paid more for having the expensive metal. And you get paid most when you have more of the expensive metal.
- Be Friendly: Treat others as you would like to be treated; Remember, you are not the scrap yard’s customer; you are their supplier!
Where is the Nearest Scrap Yard?
The nearest scrap yard is most likely within a 10-30 minutes drive from where ever you are now. If you live near or inside of a large city, chances are you are just around the corner from a scrap yard and you don’t even know it.
(Just check Google Maps by searching “Southern Metals Recycling”)
This article filled with great information was written by: ScrapMetalJunkie.com
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Southern Metals Recycling – (910) 762-2646