How To Scrap Metal

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If you’ve got some junk lying around your home or business, then it might be worthwhile to see if there is any metal in that junk. Scrapping metal can be a highly profitable venture, but only if you know what you’re doing. There are certain things you’ll need to do to make sure you’re scrapping metal properly these days, so if you’ve ever wanted to know how to scrap metal, you’ll find out right now.

#1. Collect the metal that needs to be scrapped. Any metal can be scrapped. As long as there aren’t foreign materials in the metal, like plastics, wood, or soil, then most scrap yards are going to accept your metal. Get everything together that you’ve got and then you’ll be ready for the next step.

#2. Separate your metals. Scrap yards will give you different rates for different kinds of scrap metal. Copper, brass, and other non-ferrous metals tend to command the best prices. If you’re not sure what kind of metal you have, try placing a magnet on it. Ferrous metals and alloys will cause the magnet to stick to them. Place each metal into its own pile and then get ready for the next step.

#3. Separate your metal types and grades. Mixed metals always receive a lower price per pound or ton than metals that have been sorted properly. If you want to know how to scrap metal properly, then you’ll need to take each metal type you have and sort it based on the type of metal it is. For copper, you might have wire, tubing, filings, and scrap. You can’t melt down copper pennies for scrap metal in the United States. Brass might have fixtures, filings, tubing, and wire as well.

#4. Don’t forget about spare wire that’s lying about. You might have more copper wire lying around than you might think. Wire is often made with copper components. You’ll need to strip the outer layer off of the wire, but once you do, it can go into your copper wire pile for some extra scrap value. 

#5. Talk to your scrap yard about what metals they will accept. Unless directed by state law, scrap yards are not required to accept all forms of scrap metal. They may only take ferrous metals. They might only take the highest quality non-ferrous metals. If you’re not sure about what will be accepted, then call ahead to find out so you don’t waste a trip.

#6. Bring your ID. Because of the prevalence of scrap metal theft in the United States, almost all scrap yards are required to log your sale in their records with your confirmed identification. A state or federal issued ID is usually suitable in the United States, so a driver’s license, other state-issued ID, or a passport will work. Some local laws have more stringent requirements and require you to establish proof of residency before a sale of scrap can be made.

#7. Don’t forget to report your sale as income if necessary. If you sell more than $600 worth of scrap metal over the course of a single tax year (that’s January 1-December 31 in the US), then you’ll need to report this income on IRS form 1099 when you file your taxes. 

Knowing how to scrap metal in the United States can help you clean up your property and make some money at the same time. Follow these steps and you’ll be successful.

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