FAQs of The Metal Recycling Industry from Demolition & Asset Recovery Specialists

Steel ProcessingYou probably already knew that Elder Demolition recycles scrap metal during demolition asset recovery. Today we’re outlining additional scrap recycling options. There are many industrial demolition contractors to choose from, some of whom are more adept than others at recycling building materials. Because you can offset demolition costs with salvage and recycling efforts, it pays to be an educated consumer when it come to the demolition and asset recovery process. Below, we outline how to recycle scrap metal yourself. We also provide a few suggestions on alternative recycling outfits in our region.

Scrap metal is easy to find. There are literally tons of it sitting in basements, garages, and other storage areas, so you don’t necessarily need an industrial demolition site to get going as a scrap scavenger. Indeed, there are dozens of small “scrappers” across the country. According to a recent NPR story on junk metal recycling, about half of the country’s scrap metal is recycled by tiny scrapping operations, mainly individuals who roam our cities, gathering old appliances and other metal trash.

In many communities, these scrappers are appreciated for keeping neighborhoods clear of trash. However, there’s a dark side to scrap recycling as well. In economically downtrodden cities such as Detroit, thieves are stripping copper, air conditioners, and other metals from abandoned buildings. These scrapping pirates are attracting enough attention that the Michigan House recently passed restrictions on scrap metal sales.

The bottom line is that all you really need to get started with scrap metal scavenging work is a truck. These tips will help beginning scrappers:

  • Keep things simple. You run into more trouble dealing with dismantling complicated machinery. Things like steel shelves are easier to break down and transport. For large equipment that you can’t haul in a pickup truck, it’s best to leave the scrapping work to industrial demolition contractors such as Elder Demolition.
  • Know your vehicle. Some scrap metal recycling facilities will require you to unload materials; others will unload for you. For scrapping, trucks with open beds and tall siding work great. Trailers can be a good option as well, but do be aware of your hauling capacity in either case. When you go to the scrap yard, facility operators will have you drive your truck onto an inbound scale; they’ll measure the weight again upon your exit to determine the total weight of your scrap.
  • Easy riches await in alloys. Brass is a good place to start—it can fetch up to $1-$2 per pound. Copper returns more, up to $2 to $4 per pound. Scrap yards also accept aluminum, iron, steel, as well as wiring.
  • Sort Metals by Type. This is standard practice in the scrapping industry. Keep aluminum, copper, and other types of metal in separate containers. Early in the sorting process, use a magnet to separate ferrous and non-ferrous metal. A magnet will not stick to non-ferrous metal. In general, non-ferrous metals will be worth more. When unloading ferrous scrap, junk yards tend to use huge magnet cranes. Non-ferrous metal is often unloaded via forklift.
  • Get to know your local scrap yards or metal recycling centers. You will find that different yards have different prices and specialties. Additionally, some states now require scrap metal recyclers to register with a thumbprint and photo when dropping off scrap. That way any stolen scrap (such as copper wiring) can be traced through the recycling system.

Elder Demolition specializes in top-to-bottom demolition. We provide demolition and scrap metal processing in Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and Arizona. We specialize in taking down defunct factories and buildings. And we have the tools to take down buildings floor by floor, to maximize the return of assets. Here are a few other options for recycling scrap metal.

Calbag Metals headquartered in Portland, OR, buys scrap metal in the Pacific Northwest to be redistributed in North America and internationally. Though scrap metal prices tend to fluctuate, Calberg always offers a competitive price.

Shupan International Recycling Services is based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Kalamazoo is quite a jog from the Northwest, but they do offer some great tips for removing, separating, and delivering scrap metal.

Finally, keep in mind that Elder can bundle and recycle your scrap metal for you. This allows you to use these profits to offset your overall demolition costs. We can help you save money and help the environment at the same time.

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