How To Get the Best Cast Iron Scrap Price In the USA

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Cast iron is one of the most commonly used metals in the United States right now. Not only does it resist heat well, which makes it useful as a cooking metal, but it also retains heat well when insulated. You’ll find cast iron in the heating systems of older homes, in old stand alone ovens, and in numerous vehicle components. It is susceptible to corrosion, however, so you’ll often find that cast iron is rusted and worn.

Because of the nature of cast iron, the prices that are received for this ferrous material can be quite low. This guide will help you to find cast iron that can be recycled, how to get the best cast iron scrap prices, and what traps to avoid so you make sure you’re getting a fair payday.

What Are the Cast Iron Scrap Prices In the USA?

The prices of cast iron are based on the quality of the metal, regional factors, and sometimes where the metal was used. Cast iron that is rusted and worn out will always bring in a lower price than cast iron that is relatively good shape. Cast iron pans and other kitchenware may sometimes be offered at a separate price than generic cast iron depending on the scrap yard.

In general terms, the cast iron scrap prices right now range from $0.02 – $0.45 per pound. It is not uncommon for American scrapyards to offer free drop off of scrap cast iron at the yard, but not offer a payment for the materials delivered. You may need to call ahead or show the scrap yard the quality of the cast iron to get the best possible price.

The prices that are offered may also be based per ton instead of per pound. In this pricing system, the cast iron scrap tends to be in the $100-$120 per ton range.

Another issue that faces cast iron is that when it is on its own, it can be quite brittle. You may be required to turn the cast iron into a usable form before delivering it to a scrap yard for any price to be given. Small chunks of cast iron tend to have the best chance to receive a per pound rate.

Certain cast iron components also have insulation contained within the metal that may make it so your scrap metal isn’t even accepted. A cast iron stove, for example, might be lined with bricks on the inside. You’d need to remove the bricks before taking the metal to be scrapped. New technologies have two thin layers of cast iron hiding an insulation layer, much like a double-paned glass window, and a scrapper may not accept this metal for scrap whatsoever.

Where To Find Cast Iron Scrap Metal

Cast iron scrap can be found almost everywhere in the United States. This is because the metal is in virtually everything that is used on a daily basis. Many sinks and bathtubs are actually made with cast iron and have a porcelain finish on top of them. If these are in poor condition, then they can be put into the cast iron pile at the scrap yard. If they’re in good condition, you might be able to get a better resale value out of them.

Here’s why: cast iron scrap metal with a porcelain finish tends to be highly durable. It’s specifically designed to resist water. Many farmers will use old porcelain coated fixtures like these to help provide their livestock with a water source. You might even be able to directly sell the sink or tub on your own, especially if the tub has claw feet on it.

You’ll also find cast iron in vehicles, farming equipment, in general junk piles, and sitting around dumpsters. If you’re not sure if the metal is cast iron, just take a magnet to it. If it sticks, then it is a ferrous metal. If not, you might be able to make more money from the scrap you’ve just found.

Certain household appliances may also be made from cast iron. It is usually used in making a stove, but other older appliances may also have cast iron elements.

How To Get the Best Prices For Scrap Cast Iron

Some scrap yards accept all scrap iron, including cast iron, as one generic mixed category. If you can avoid this for your ferrous materials, then you’ll be able to receive a better price. You can always negotiate the prices for your cast iron scrap, so if you make sure your metals are completely separated, you might be able to get 10-20% more for your metal.

In order to separate your cast iron, you’ll need to understand what #1 grade and #2 grade cast iron happens to be. Cast iron #1 tends to be machinery cast items that are prepared in advance and have no steel attachments. This would include items that are used for a specific purpose. Manhole covers, grill plates, large rims or hubs, and grating all tend to fall into the #1 category. You’ll also want to keep rusted and corroded cast iron separated from high quality cast iron.

Cast iron #2 tends to involve household items that are used consistently. This is where kitchenware like a cast iron pan would be. Other items include cast iron pipes and plumbing, sewage or irrigation system pipes, and older cast iron radiators. Some of these items have non-ferrous metals blended with them, so you’ll want to keep these separate from your other cast iron scrap because they’ll bring in a better price per pound.

What Are the Traps To Avoid With Scrap Cast Iron?

The main trap to avoid when selling scrap cast iron is within how the weight is actually measured. If you’re receiving a per pound rate for your scrap, then you’ve got nothing to worry about. At scrap yards that offer a price per ton of weight, you’ll need to find out if the rate is based on a regular ton or what is known as the “long ton.” A standard ton is 2,000 pounds, but a long ton is 2,240 pounds. Receiving $120 per ton at the long ton standard can cost you a few bucks when compared to the net ton rates.

Machine cast iron is also usually at a cheaper rate than regular cast iron – the difference is usually about 10%. It is not uncommon for scrap yards to charge one general machine cast rate and not offer any #1 rates for sinks, tubs, and stoves. Make sure to ask if there is a difference between the “cast iron” and “machine cast” rates that are being offered at your local scrap yard.

Dirty cast iron tends to bring in a 10% reduction in price as well. This refers to cast iron that has rusted or is in poor recycling condition. There’s nothing that can really be done to improve this material, so make sure all rusted cast iron has been removed from the clean cast iron. You may be given the lower rate if just one rusted piece of scrap metal is found in your clean pile. Because some scrap yards use magnetic lifters to unload vehicles, make sure you are present for any inspection of your load to ensure you receive a fair rate.

What Cast Iron Scrap Will Sell and What Will Not Sell?

Because pricing for cast iron scrap is regional, the resale value may be so low that there won’t be any payout offered for the materials that are dropped off at the scrap yard. In this instance, the only thing you can do is wait for local prices to rise. You can still deliver the cast iron to the yard, but any delivery costs will come out of your pocket and you won’t receive a check after you drop off your metals into the cast pile.

The best option is to find cast iron scrap that can be directly resold. Sinks and tubs tend to be the best option here, but in the Pacific Northwest and in the Northern US, cast iron stoves have a certain value to them as well. The items must be able to be in a usable condition to qualify. If a tub can be installed, it may bring in as much as $399. Sinks tend to run in the $25-$40 range, while cast iron stoves in local markets can bring in as much as $100.

The best cast iron scrap price comes not from recycling, but from directly selling items that can be used again. It’s better to get $5 for a used cast iron pan than it is to receive $0.02 per pound at the local scrap yard. Always call ahead for pricing with this scrap metal because there may not be any payment offered for it. By following this guide, you’ll be able to get the best price for your cast iron and get rid of some scrap at the same time.

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