How To Get the Best Brass Scrap Price In the US

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Brass is one of the most coveted non-ferrous metals that is able to be scrapped in the United States. The price per pound of clean and bright brass is almost always near the prices for scrap copper. This makes it very lucrative to know how to get the best brass scrap price possible in your community. If you’re interested in making some extra money from scrapping brass, then this guide will let you know how to find it, how to get the best scrap brass prices, and what traps you’ll need to avoid to make sure you get 100% of the value you deserve.

Now here’s the good news: there are plenty of places in your community where there may be free and legal scrap brass that you can take to be recycled.

What Are the Scrap Prices In the US?

The prices of scrap metals tend to vary by region within the US. Within each region there can be some variability as well. For this reason, you may wish to call ahead to make sure you know what prices to expect. You should also know that the price of your brass will be dependent on how clean and bright the metal is.

Here are the average brass prices that are available in the United States right now.

  • Bright Yellow Brass: $1.72 per pound
  • Mixed Clean Yellow Brass: $1.59 per pound
  • Mixed Red Clean Brass: $1.78 per pound
  • Clean Brass Radiators: $1.63 per pound
  • Brass/Iron Radiators: $1.32 per pound

All brass can be scrapped, but dirty brass is typically worth 50% less to the consumer when it is turned in for cash. If you have dull and dirty yellow brass, this would mean the price would be closer to $0.86 per pound. This means it can be quite worthwhile to clean up the brass to remove tarnishing, corrosion, or other blemishes whenever possible.

You’ll also want to make sure you have separated your various types of brass to get the best possible price for your scrap metal. If you bring in a mixed lot of brass, you may be offered reduced scrap brass prices because the recycling yard is forced to separate the metals instead.

Keep in mind that these scrap brass prices are also the market rates. A discount off the spot price is expected, but be leery of recycling yards that will offer you less than $1 per pound for even your bright and clean brass. They’re getting a hefty profit at that price level.

Where To Find Scrap Brass In the USA

When you’re on the hunt for some scrap brass that you can turn into cash, there are plenty of places where you can pick up some spare metal. If you’re around the home, then some of your plumbing fixtures may be made of brass. Sometimes copper and red brass can look similar, so look for stamps on the metal to see what it might actually be – especially if you have spare piping just lying around that you don’t need.

Many home decoration options also tend to be made of brass. Doorknobs are commonly made from brass because it is very durable, strong, and resistant to changing weather conditions. Watch out for plating that looks like brass, but is really covering iron or steel that won’t fetch you nearly the same scrap price.

Other items around the home that may be made from brass include weather stripping, flashing, sprinkler heads, and various brackets or components of structural trim. Garage shelving can sometimes be lined with brass components to give it added strength. Some of the radiators in older homes may also be made from brass or a brass and iron combination.

Going beyond the home, some vehicle radiators may also be made from brass. You have to be careful here because aluminum and copper tend to be the preferred radiator materials. Recycling an aluminum radiator instead of a brass radiator is a different of nearly $1 per pound in most markets.

An overlooked place for scrap yards in the US are shooting ranges. These may be official businesses or the quarry that’s out in the country. Almost all bullet casings are made from brass. Although one casing by itself is rather light, if you can get hundreds or thousands of casings together to turn in at the same time, you can have a rather profitable scrapping experience.

How To Get the Best Scrap Brass Prices

Brass prices are based on cleanliness, color, and brightness. If you can see your reflection in the brass, then you’re going to get a good price for it. If you can’t see your reflection in the metal, then there’s a chance it will receive the 50% discount that dirty brass brings. This means you’ll need to know how to clean brass to make sure you get the best possible price.

You can clean brass with a few simple items that are found in the average American kitchen. The first step is to determine if you’ve got lacquered brass. This type of scrap brass will just wipe clean with a soft cloth. If it doesn’t wipe clean, then here are the steps you’re going to want to take.

  • Rub ketchup on the brass. The light acid of the tomato sauce in the ketchup will help to free up many of the imperfections the metal has without actually damaging it. Just pour a small amount of ketchup directly to the brass and rub it over the surface. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then wipe off the residue with a damp cloth. Take a clean, dry cloth to buff it clean.
  • Make a paste for difficult spots. You can make a brass cleaning paste from 1 tsp salt, 1/2 cup vinegar, and flour. Mix the ingredients together until you get a thick paste. Rub it onto the difficult spots and let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and then wipe clean.
  • Scrubbing sponges can also clean the brass. Don’t use steel wool to clean brass as this will scratch the metal and potentially make it less valuable. Soft scrubbing sponges and some elbow grease, however, and help to remove difficult spots as well.

If the brass has tarnished, there are anti-tarnish cleaners that are available at most local hardware stores and retail home improvement chains throughout the USA.

Brass that is combined with other metals may not be accepted by your local scrap yard. If it is, then the alloy will typically be charged a lower and independent recycling rate from the standard brass pricing. Because of the firing action of a weapon, brass casings are typically charged at the dirty brass rates because of the residue that could be on the metal even if you’ve cleaned them. Not all brass will clean up to meet the bright and clean standard either, so keep this all in mind before you begin the restoration process to get the best brass prices.

What Are the Traps To Avoid With Scrap Brass?

The problem that many people face when trying to scrap brass is that they are not 100% sure the metal they have is actually high value brass instead of low value aluminum. The first thing you’ll want to do when identifying the metal you suspect is brass is to run a magnet over it. Brass is a non-ferrous material, which means it doesn’t have any iron content in it. Iron is magnetic, so if the metal makes the magnet stick, it isn’t pure brass.

Brass is actually an alloy of zinc and copper, so it will have many of the same properties of both metals. If you strike brass with a tuning fork, the metal will actually vibrate. This will help you separate brass from ferrous metals as well. If you have yellow brass that isn’t magnetic and doesn’t vibrate, you might actually have gold instead.

The final trap that is generally used at scrap yards is to undercharge the payout rate by offering a higher than standard premium over the spot price. Any premium over 20% is generally going to be too high to charge unless the scrap yard is the only one available in a 100 mile radius. This means if the spot price for the brass you have is $1.70 per pound, the scrap yard will reduce that price by $0.34 per pound as the premium for a payout rate of $1.26 per pound.

The best brass prices can bring you a lot of cash right now, but only if you know how to identify and separate this metal from other metals you might be scrapping. Use this guide to get the best brass scrap price in the USA today. Always keep your colors separate, run a magnet over all your brass products, and you’ll avoid many of the nasty surprises that can creep up during the recycling process for this metal.

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