Aluminum Scrap Price in the USA

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Aluminum is one of the most recycled metals in the United States right now. It can be found in a wide variety of products. There is a good chance that you’ve got scrap aluminum in your home right now. You might even be drinking a beverage in an aluminum can right now. This guide will help you be able to identify aluminum for scrapping, get the best price possible for it, and what common traps to avoid so that you can maximize the value of what you’ve got.

We’ll also show you what will sell, what may not sell, and what you should probably just throw away. Do you have aluminum scrap that could be turned into cash right now? Let’s find out!

What Are the Current Prices For Aluminum?

The overall price of aluminum in the United States can change on a daily basis. It is essentially a commodity as scrap material, which means there can be several cents of variation in pricing from one day to another. Over the last 20 years, the price of aluminum per pound in the United States has ranged from just $0.50 per pound to $1.40 per pound. An average price today for general aluminum products is between $0.65-$0.85 per pound.

That means the average price tends to hover between $1,500 to $1,650 per ton.

The prices of aluminum may vary based on what the metal was used to create. General aluminum scrap tends to be based on the current spot price on the market. So are various aluminum alloys, aluminum transformers, and aluminum litho. Here are some average aluminum prices for other products to consider as well.

  • Aluminum rims: $0.40 per pound.
  • Aluminum siding: $0.40 per pound.
  • Aluminum radiators: $0.30 per pound.

Some aluminum products are priced based on the alloy with which they are combined. Aluminum with copper, for example, has an average price of $0.95 per pound. Other products are priced based on the actual quality of the aluminum product instead. This includes aluminum wire, aluminum/steel alloy, and turnings. 

Aluminum cans are typically treated as a separate product from regular aluminum products. In most states it has a separate price guide to follow as a result of container deposit legislation, and so we’ve got a separate guide to selling scrap aluminum cans here. 

What Are the Different Types of Aluminum?

Aluminum scrap can come in many different grades, shapes, or alloys. The type of aluminum scrap you have is typically based on what the needs have been on or around your property. By knowing what the intended use of the aluminum happens to be, then you’ve got a good idea about what metal you’re going to be turning in for cash.

There are 8 common types of aluminum grading that are available right now: 1100, 2011, 2024, 3003, 5052, 6061, 6063, and 7075. Each has some strengths and weaknesses that may give it a higher rate than the spot price in certain local markets. Here’s how you can generally tell which type of aluminum you’ve got.

  • #1100 Aluminum is suitable for metal spinning. It has a good resistance against corrosion.
  • #2011 Aluminum is used for general machining purposes. It has the best machining qualities of any other type of this metal, but corrodes easily.
  • #2024 Aluminum is generally used only for aeronautics and aerospace applications. A scrap market near Seattle would prize this type of aluminum as scrap because of its high local demand.
  • #3003 Aluminum is used when chemical equipment must be contained. It’s highly workable, but isn’t generally a strong metal. This typically makes it the best choice for welding.
  • #5052 Aluminum is used in marine applications. Coastal scrap yards may have higher pricing on this scrap products.
  • #6061 Aluminum is a general use metal that is common in structural applications. It is one of the most recycled types of aluminum in the world today.
  • #6063 Aluminum is also used for structural and architectural applications. It is also one of the most recycled types of aluminum.
  • #7075 Aluminum is generally confined to aerospace use. It is extremely strong, but has poor workability or welding capabilities.

By knowing what grade of aluminum you have, it may be possible to obtain a better per pound scrap rate at the yard. Some yards may only offer a general aluminum price based on the spot price. Call ahead to see if it would be beneficial to determine what type of aluminum you plan to scrap.

How To Find Aluminum Scrap

Aluminum scrap can be found in numerous places around the home. Many homes that have semi-permanent siding are framed in aluminum. There may be aluminum structural components. Office chairs, desks, car components, and virtually any other type of scrap metal that is a chrome color and non-ferrous in nature is likely at least an aluminum alloy.

If a heating or cooling unit has failed, then this is a good place to find aluminum scrap as well. Door and window frames may also be constructed with aluminum. Screen doors may also be made from this metal. If you are upgrading your home and replacing these items, you can get some of your money back by scrapping the items instead of putting them up in the rafters of the garage.

How To Get the Best Prices For Aluminum Scrap

The first and best thing to do with your aluminum scrap is to separate it into the various types and grades that you have available. Your scrap is also going to be checked with a magnet for ferrous materials, so run a magnet over your scrap before getting to the yard to weed out any iron-containing materials.

How can you know what products you have? Rims, kegs, and general scrap is easy to identify. You’ll want to make sure all of your aluminum cans have been separated as well. Here are some additional ways you’ll want to separate your aluminum to get the best possible price.

  • Aluminum litho tends to look a lot like the aluminum foil that is used in the kitchen or for a charcoal grill. It comes in long sheets that are thin and often bundled together.
  • Aluminum turnings are the leftovers that come from the metal creation process. These are small bits of metal, often the size of packing peanuts or smaller, and are typically a pure form of the metal.
  • Aluminum siding must be separated for most scrap yards to accept it. There may also be restrictions in the length of the siding to make sure the best price may be obtained.

If you have the aluminum separated and the metals are relatively free from corrosion, then they will sell well. If there are multiple metals in the alloy or the condition of the aluminum is highly corroded, it may not be accepted. Make sure all grades of aluminum are separated so you don’t get stuck with the general aluminum price instead of the specialty price points that may be available.

Common Traps To Avoid With Aluminum Scrap

The biggest trap to avoid is being underpaid for your high quality aluminum scrap. You may find a metal scrap yard doesn’t have any specific pricing posted for aluminum scrap, offering a generalized price instead. If you are only going to receive $0.35-$0.40 per pound for your aluminum based on average pricing, then you could be losing that much with your high quality scrap.

Many consumers have figured out that heavier aluminum makes for better pricing. To protect themselves, many scrap yards have taken to using large magnets to check for ferrous products. If just one piece of iron is found, you may be offered a bulk ferrous rate for your aluminum instead of a per pound rate for your scrap. It might be completely rejected as well. Expect a thorough inspection if you’re bringing in 100+ pounds of aluminum scrap.

Ask for written confirmation of your scale weights when delivering the aluminum scrap. Just a few pounds difference can cost you several dollars.

Scrap aluminum prices include a premium of 10-15% at most dealers. If the spot price is $0.60 per pound for aluminum, then you might get paid $0.48-$0.54 per pound. Watch out for dealers that have a 20% or more premium on this metal.

Your Aluminum Scrap Is Money In the Bank

The aluminum scrap price at your local yard is generally a fair, competitive price that has been rather stable over the last 20 years. The prices after the year 2010 have been generally lower than in the past, however, so there may be a benefit to holding onto your aluminum scrap to see if the market will rebound.

If you just want to get rid of your scrap metal and get paid for it, however, then knowing the aluminum price per pound can help you make sure you get a fair price. Aluminum recycling prices may vary from day to day, so be sure to check the spot price, ask the scrap yard about their premium, and you’ll know what to expect to receive in cash when you deliver your scrap.

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