Scrap Metal Recycling: Prices & Benefits of Going Green!

As an entrepreneur and engineer passionate about sustainability, I have seen first-hand the potential of scrap metal recycling to unlock a range of environmental benefits. From reducing greenhouse gas emissions to conserving natural resources, scrap metal recycling is an effective way to make some cash, reduce the need for new mining operations and help save the planet. By investing in scrap metal recycling, we can create a cleaner and more sustainable future for generations to come.

Scrap metal recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste metal and turning it into new products. It’s an important part of preserving natural resources and reducing pollution. Benefits include:

  • Reducing energy consumption and emissions
  • Creating jobs in the manufacturing sector
  • Preserving natural resources
  • Reducing landfill waste

Recycling scrap metal is also an essential part of the 6 Rs of sustainability for a greener future.

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Scrap metal recycling prices in the USA

How much is scrap metal? It depends on the type of metal, its current form, and your local area. However, here are the average scrap metal recycling prices in the USA in 2023:

Scrap MetalPrices per lbPrices per ton
Copper$1.8 – $4.5$3’600 – $9’000
Aluminium$0.27 – $0.5$540 – $1’000
Steel$0.04 – $0.23 (Stainless)$87 – $460
Iron$0.04 – $0.07$87 – $140
Nickel$2.5 – $3.0$5’000 – $6’000
Lead$0.13 – $0.44$260 – $880
Brass$1.22 – $1.37$2’440 – $2’740
Bronze$1.18 – $1.2$2’360 – $2’400
Average Scrap Metal Prices 2023

Not bad if you have some metallic waste, including construction waste metals to dispose of! You can get paid for your scrap metal and at the same time, you would be doing something good for the environment.

Please note that scrap metal prices tend to fluctuate daily and may change from one area to another. Please check a scrapyard near you to get the current prices in your area.

How Does Scrap Metal Recycling Work?

Scrap metal recycling is the process of recovering waste and turning it into new products. The scrap metal industry has grown significantly over the past few decades, with more and more businesses now recognizing its potential to reduce their environmental impact while also saving money.

Recycling scrap metal helps conserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption and emissions, create jobs in the manufacturing sector, and provide consumers with lower prices for raw materials and new products.

The Process of Recovering Waste and Turning it Into New Products

In order to recycle scrap metal, a variety of steps must be taken to ensure that all materials are properly sorted, inspected, cleaned, sized, separated by type (ferrous or non-ferrous), and then stored safely before they can be reused or sold off as commodities in the marketplace.

Non-ferrous materials such as aluminum, copper, brass, zinc, lead etc. require a different kind of separation technology known as eddy currents which use powerful electrical currents to draw out these specific kinds of metals from other types of waste material. These separators help make sure that only pure non-ferrous materials remain after sorting has been completed.

Scrap metal recycling is a sustainable activity because it acts on all the 3 pillars of sustainability, leading to environmental, social, and economic benefits for everybody.

Environmental Benefits Of Recycling Scrap Metal

By recycling scrap metal instead of extracting new materials from the ore, we save a significant amount on energy consumption. This results in reduced damage to our planet, because mining operations, especially open pit mining, are extremely bad for the environment.

Additionally, reclaiming existing resources reduces our dependence on finite supplies of raw minerals found within nature’s reserves. This helps preserve natural resources while also reducing pressure on mining operations which often cause severe environmental degradation if not managed responsibly.

Reducing Energy Consumption And Emissions

Scrap metal recycling saves us money while at the same time reducing our environmental footprint by lowering greenhouse gas emissions released into our atmosphere.

In addition, many smelting processes involve burning fossil fuels which, among their cons, they release dangerous pollutants into our air causing serious health risks if not adequately monitored through government regulations.

By reusing existing resources rather than relying solely on virgin sources we can greatly reduce these risks associated with smelting operations involving scrap metal materials.

Creating Jobs in the Manufacturing Sector

Scrap metal recycling is an excellent way to create jobs in the manufacturing sector. By utilizing scrap metal, manufacturers can produce products at a lower cost than using new materials, which allows them to hire more workers and provide job security for existing employees.

Additionally, recycled metals are often of higher quality than newly-mined materials, leading to improved product durability and increased customer satisfaction.

As you can see, recycling has many benefits involving a number of different areas of human activities.

Scrap Metal Recycling Industry Overview: Ferrous vs. Non-Ferrous Metals

When it comes to scrap metal recycling, there are two main categories of metals that are commonly recycled: ferrous and non-ferrous. Ferrous metals are those that contain iron, while non-ferrous metals do not contain any iron. Both types of metals have different properties and applications, making them ideal for different uses.

Recycling of Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals include steel and cast iron, which are both widely used in construction and manufacturing industries.

These materials can be recycled by shredding them into small pieces, separating the ferrous material from other components through magnetic separation techniques, and then melting down the scrap to create new products. This process helps preserve natural resources by reducing the need for mining ore from the earth.

Here are some important aspects:

  • Understanding the different types of ferrous scrap metal
  • Knowing how to identify them correctly
  • Identifying which ferrous metals are best suited for certain applications

Reclamation of Non-Ferrous Materials

Non-ferrous materials such as aluminum, copper, brass, zinc, lead and nickel can also be recycled through a similar process as ferrous materials. In this case, however, magnets cannot be used since these materials have no magnetic properties. Instead they must be separated using physical methods such as sorting or eddy currents.

Here are some important aspects to consider:

  • Developing efficient methods for sorting out non-ferous items before they reach a facility or yard site
  • Establishing relationships with reliable buyers who will pay fair market value for all types of recyclable metals collected at a facility or yard site

The Benefits of Scrap Metal Recycling

Scrap metal recycling has many benefits beyond just preserving natural resources; it also provides economic advantages to consumers businesses and communities alike. By reusing existing raw materials instead of extracting new ones from ore deposits we can reduce energy consumption associated with production processes while simultaneously creating jobs in manufacturing sectors.

Here are some important aspects to consider:

  • Lower prices on raw material inputs due to reduced extraction costs
  • Cost savings & increased profitability for businesses due to lower production costs
  • Repurposing discarded steel & salvaging scrap iron for use in construction projects & other industries. Learn how to dispose of construction waste materials and how to create a successful waste management plan.

1. Lower Prices for Raw Materials & New Products

Consumers benefit from lower prices for raw materials and new products created from recycled metals. Additionally, they can feel good about making a positive environmental impact by helping reduce the need for mining operations that can be damaging to the environment.

2. Cost Savings and Increased Profitability

Businesses can benefit from scrap metal recycling in several ways. Cost savings are a major advantage, as recycled metals often cost significantly less than newly extracted materials.

Additionally, companies that are after sustainable business practices and decide to recycle metals can increase their profitability by selling scrap to buyers at competitive market prices. Recycling properly your scrap metals is also part of a company’s environmental responsibility and can improve its ESG metrics, making it easier to attract new investment capital.

Recycling also reduces the environmental impact of extracting new resources, helping companies meet sustainability goals and comply with regulations and improve their ESG and sustainability profile.

3. Salvaging Scrap Iron for Use in Construction Projects & Other Industries

Scrap iron is one of the most common materials used in construction projects and other industries. It can be salvaged from demolition sites, industrial waste, and even old appliances.

The process of recycling scrap iron involves sorting, cleaning, and sizing the material before it is melted down and reused in new products. This not only helps to reduce energy consumption but also reduces emissions associated with mining ore for new metals.

4. Repurposing Discarded Steel for Reuse in Automotive Manufacturing

Discarded steel is often repurposed for use in automotive manufacturing due to its strength and durability. By recycling this material, manufacturers are able to produce cars that are lighter yet still maintain their structural integrity.

This process also helps reduce emissions associated with producing new steel since less energy is required when melting down existing metal resources instead of extracting fresh ore from the ground.

In addition to being used in automotive manufacturing, recycled steel can also be used in various other applications such as construction projects or infrastructure repairs.

5. Efficient Resource Management

By properly managing our resources through efficient recycling practices we can make sure that nothing goes to waste while at the same time helping protect our planet’s delicate ecosystems from further damage caused by human activity.

Recycling scrap metal not only makes good environmental sense but can also provide economic benefits such as job creation within local communities and lower prices on raw materials needed by businesses across industries worldwide.

How to Get Started with Scrap Metal Recycling

The first step towards starting a successful scrap metal recycling business is understanding how the process works so you know what types of metals you should be looking out for when collecting waste materials from different sources around your area or city.

As said earlier, different metals require different methods of sorting and processing before they can be sold off as commodities or reused in new products so familiarizing yourself with these techniques will help ensure success down the line.

  • Identifying Types of Scrap Metal: To identify different types of metals you will need knowledge about their physical properties such as color, weight, texture etc., along with some basic tools like magnets (for ferrous metals) or non-ferrous separators (for non-ferrous metals).
  • Sorting and Segregating Materials: Once you have identified all available metals at a given site then you must sort them into distinct categories based on type (e.g., aluminum vs copper) before they can be processed further.
  • Inspecting Cleaning & Sizing Metals: Before any recyclable metal can be sold off it must first undergo inspection where any impurities are removed using specialized equipment such as sandblasters or pressure washers followed by sizing operations which involve cutting large pieces into smaller more manageable sizes suitable for shipping purposes..

Let’s have a look at those more in detail!

Steps for Collecting and Processing Waste Metals

To get started with scrap metal recycling, there are several steps involved in collecting and processing waste metals.

1. Identifying Types of Scrap Metal

The first step in scrap metal recycling is to identify the type of metal being recycled. This can be done by looking at the material’s physical characteristics such as color, weight, shape, size, and texture. Different types of scrap metal may also have different magnetic properties which can help determine what type it is. Experienced recyclers will also know how to identify different types of metals based on their experience.

In some cases, you may have to disassemble the item to get the scrap metal to recycle. For example, if you can’t fix your garbage disposal that’s not working, then you will have to bring it to an e-waste recycling or disassemble it yourself to separate the different metals, from plastic and other materials.

Once the type of metal has been identified, it is important to understand which metals are best for certain applications. Knowing the current market prices for different scrap metal materials can also help recyclers make informed decisions when buying or selling scrap.

2. Sorting and Segregating Materials

After identifying the types of metals present in a given batch of scrap material, it must be sorted into separate categories according to its composition so that it can be processed more efficiently later on. This sorting process typically involves manually separating ferrous (iron-based) materials from non-ferrous (non-iron-based) ones using magnets or other detection methods.

  • Ferrous Metals: Iron-based materials such as steel and cast iron.
  • Non-Ferrous Metals: Non-iron based materials such as aluminum, copper, brass and stainless steel.

Once sorted into categories according to their composition, these materials must then be further segregated by size before they can be recycled properly.

  1. Smaller Pieces: Pieces that are too small for efficient handling should be discarded due to safety concerns.
  2. Larger Pieces: Pieces larger than a few inches should usually be broken down further into smaller sizes suitable for processing purposes.
Using Magnetic Separation Equipment For Ferrous Metals

When dealing with ferrous metals specifically, magnetic separation equipment can come in handy. This type of equipment works by using powerful magnets to separate ferrous materials from non-ferrous ones quickly and easily.

By doing this, recyclers can ensure that only pure ferrous metals enter the next stage of processing while everything else gets discarded accordingly.

Utilizing Non-Ferrous Separators or Eddy Currents for Non-Ferrous Metals

Non-ferrous separators and eddy currents are two common methods used to separate non-ferrous metals from ferrous metals in scrap metal recycling. Non-ferrous separators use powerful magnets to pick up and hold onto non-ferrous materials, while eddy current separators (ECS) use electromagnetic fields to repel non-ferrous materials away from the magnet.

Non-ferrous separators are most effective when used on small pieces of scrap metal as they can easily capture even the smallest pieces. Eddy currents, on the other hand, are better suited for larger pieces of scrap metal since their magnetic fields have a greater range of influence.

Inspecting, Cleaning, and Sizing the Metals

Inspecting, cleaning, and sizing scrap metal materials is key to recycling them responsibly. Before any metals can be recycled, it’s important to inspect them for damage or contamination that could lead to problems down the line.

After inspection, the next step is to clean off any dirt or debris. This can be done by hand with a brush or steam cleaner. Finally, the metals need to be sorted into sizes and shapes so they can be processed more efficiently.


What is the current cost of scrap metal?

Scrap metal prices can vary depending on the type and condition of the metal. Bare bright wire is typically the cheapest, with copper tubing and flashing slightly more expensive, followed by insulated copper wire. Car batteries are usually cheaper than small foreign cat batteries. Steel is usually more costly than aluminum, while clean green motherboards are the most expensive.

What is the current value of scrap metal in Missouri?

Scrap prices in Missouri vary depending on the type and condition of the material. Bare bright wire, copper tubing, insulated copper wire, car batteries, steel, nickel, and aluminum all have different prices per pound ranging from $0.04 to $3. Clean green motherboards are usually the most expensive per pound. Prices can also depend on current market conditions.

What is the current scrap metal price in Kentucky?

Scrap metal prices in Kentucky vary depending on the type and condition of the material. Bare bright wire, copper tubing, insulated wire, car batteries, steel, nickel, and aluminum all have different values ranging from $0.04 to $3 per pound. Clean green motherboards are usually the most expensive per pound. Prices also depend on current market trends and the availability of scrap materials.


Recycling scrap metal is a great way to help the environment and benefit your finances. By taking the time to properly recycle and sell scrap metal, you can make a positive impact on the environment while also making some extra money. Not only will you be helping the planet, but you will also be contributing to a healthier economy.

So if you’re looking for an easy way to go green and make some extra cash, look no further than scrap metal recycling! With its many benefits, it’s an excellent solution for anyone looking to do their part in protecting our planet while making some extra money at the same time. So what are you waiting for? Start scrap metal recycling today, get paid for it, and unlock all of its other amazing benefits!

If instead, you don’t have scrap metal available, well, you can still recycle baled cardboard and get paid cash! This allows you to turn recyclable cardboard into money.