Whether you’re scrapping, dismantling, or collecting metal detritus generated by your trade (plumbers, electricians, etc.), collecting metals for recycling is an important process. It can also be quite challenging. Thankfully, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you collect more metal, faster, and more safely. Let’s discuss some of the most important tips for metal recycling.

Prep Your Metals

You want to earn as much as possible per pound of metal from the recycling center. However, most centers have rules about how they’ll accept metals. For instance, some might only accept used wires that have already been stripped, while others might accept unstripped wires, but pay less per pound for that sort of copper. So, one of the most important tips is to make sure you know what steps you need to take to prep your metals, and then take them. Strip your copper and aluminum, dismantle mixed plastic and metal parts, and ensure that you’re doing everything you can to maximize your earnings.

Know Your Metal Grade Ahead of Time

Make sure that you know the grade of the metal you’re scrapping before you go to the recycling center. This is only possible if you strip your wire and otherwise dismantle your components. It’s easy to be misled by casings and plastics, and you could think that you have #1 bare bright wire, when all you really have is basic insulated copper wire.

Use Your Job to Collect Metals

If you’re in a career where scrap metal is generated, use that to your advantage. A few examples include plumbers and electricians, but many others can find large amounts of scrap metal on the job, including those in the construction field, auto mechanics, and more.

Know Where You’re Storing It

Recycling centers pay by the pound in most cases, and you want to limit your trips and maximize your profits. To do that, you’ll need to stockpile your metals. You need somewhere with the space necessary to collect metals, but you also want to make sure that it’s safe from the depredations of thieves.


In some cases, you’ll need to dismantle larger components in order to get at the most valuable metals. For instance, you might find an exhaust pipe with the catalytic converter still attached. Dismantling the piping allows you to recycle just the catalytic converter. The same thing applies to things like fuse boxes (copper) and car door panels (aluminum), washing machines (aluminum and copper), electric motors (copper wiring), alternators (copper and aluminum), and many more.

A Way to Get It There

If you’ll be taking heavy loads of metal to the recycling center, you’ll need a vehicle that’s large enough and capable enough to haul the load. In general, a full-size pickup truck might be your best option, but for larger loads, you might consider a truck and trailer, a box truck or something similar.

There you have them – six tips to help make your metal recycling efforts simpler and more rewarding.

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