Scrap Metal Prices

Scrap Metal Prices

Are you curious about the worth of that pile of scrap metal in your backyard? Fact is, the US scrap recycling industry churns out more than $117 billion in economic activity every year.

This blog post will help you understand how scrap metal prices are determined, which metals are most valuable and where to get the best deal for your scraps. Let’s dive into the world of scrap metal pricing!

Key Takeaways

  • Scrap metal prices are determined by factors such as supply and demand, market conditions, type of metal, energy and production costs, quality and grade, location, international market trends, and recycling process costs.
  • Ferrous metals like iron and steel are abundant and cost-effective in the scrap metal industry. Non-ferrous metals like copper and aluminum are also valuable due to their conductivity and lightweight properties. Rare earth metals can be extracted from electronic waste for their high value.
  • Copper, aluminum, brass, and stainless steel are among the most valuable types of scrap metal. The prices for these metals can fluctuate regularly based on market demand.
  • Scrap metal prices vary depending on national averages as well as regional variations. It’s important to stay updated on current prices in your area to get the best deal when buying or selling scrap metal.

Understanding Scrap Metal Prices

Understanding Scrap Metal Prices

Scrap metal prices are determined based on various factors and can fluctuate based on market conditions.

How prices are determined

Scrap metal prices hinge on the delicate interplay of supply and demand, influenced by ongoing changes in market conditions. They’re adjusted frequently to reflect these shifts, ensuring that every exchange remains fair and transparent.

In essence, the more scarce a metal becomes or the greater its demand worldwide, then expect higher scrap price tags attached to it. The role of economic stability also cannot be understated; during times of recession or inflationary periods, scrap metal prices follow the tide accordingly.

Global events can equally trigger fluctuations in pricing as they might provoke significant shifts in commodities trading overall.

Factors that affect prices

The prices of scrap metal are influenced by various factors. These include:

  1. Demand and Supply: High demand with a limited supply drives the prices up, while an abundant supply with low demand results in lower prices. This principle is reflected in fluctuations in scrap metal prices.
  2. Market Conditions: Similar to other commodities, market volatility significantly impacts the cost of scrap metals.
  3. Type of Scrap Metal: Different types of scrap metals carry different values. For instance, aluminum scrap metal prices per pound differ from copper scrap metal prices today.
  4. Energy and Production Costs: The price of processing and producing scrap metals affects their final selling cost.
  5. Quality and Grade: Clean, non-rusted metals devoid of any attachments generally fetch higher prices than dirty or low-grade scraps.
  6. Location: Regional variations can impact scrap metal prices; for example, Michigan scrap metal prices may not be identical to current scrap metal prices in Florida or even Texas scrap metal prices.
  7. International Market Trends: Global events or trends in the worldwide economy can influence both local and international value of different types of metals such as copper, lead, nickel etc.
  8. Recycling Process Costs: The costs involved in the collection, sorting, processing, melting, reusing and repurposing steps determine part of the final price offered for your scarp materials.

Types of Scrap Metal

Ferrous metals, such as iron and steel, are commonly found in scrap metal. Non-ferrous metals, like copper and aluminum, are also valuable in the recycling industry. Additionally, rare earth metals can be extracted from electronic waste for their high value.

Ferrous metals (iron, steel)

Ferrous metals, primarily iron and steel, hold a significant place in the scrap metal industry. These metals are abundant in nature which makes them cost-effective compared to their non-ferrous counterparts.

A key factor influencing the price of these ferrous materials is how supply and demand plays out in the market. Moreover, they can reliably be distinguished from non-ferrous types during recycling due to their magnetic properties.

The high recyclability of steel, coupled with its economic benefits, has made it a preferred choice for many industries ranging from construction to automobile manufacturing. In fact, every day around the world masses of steel get recycled into new products ensuring that this important resource never goes to waste.

Scrap Metal prices Near Me

Scrap Metal prices Near Me

Copper & Brass
#1 Bare Bright Wire $2.40/lb
#1 Copper Tubing / Flashing $2.10/lb
#2 Copper Tubing / Bus Bar $1.90/lb
#3 Roofing Copper $1.80/lb
Brass $1.25/lb
Brass (Plumbing, Pipe) $1.37/lb
Bronze $1.55/lb
Brass Shells $1.22/lb
Brass Water Meter $0.75-$1.50/lb
Dirty Brass Faucets $0.40/lb
Clean Brass Radiators $1.30/lb
Aluminum/Copper Coil (Clean) $0.91/lb
Aluminum/Copper Coil (Dirty) $0.72/lb
Copper NA
Copper Yokes $0.25/lb
Copper Transformers $0.08-$0.17/lb
Electric Motors $0.12-$0.15/lb
Alternators/Starters $0.13/lb
Sealed Units/Compressors $0.13/lb
Ins. Copper Wire
Insulated Copper Wire (Cat 5/6) $0.62/lb
Romex® Wire $1.12/lb
Open Eye Hollow Heliax $0.82/lb
THHN Cable $1.48/lb
Insulated Cable $1.58/lb
500-750 MCM (Bare Bright Inside) $1.83/lb
Insulated Steel BX $0.20/lb
Aluminum BX $0.77/lb
Christmas Lights $0.12/lb
Computer Wire $0.32/lb
Cat 5/6 Cross $0.45/lb
AluminumNAAluminum Siding / Gutters $0.34/lb
Sheet Aluminum $0.27/lb
All Aluminum Rims $0.40-$0.50/lb
Aluminum Windows (broken) $0.32/lb
Cast Aluminum $0.28/lb
Clean Aluminum Wire $0.47/lb
AL Thermo-pane/break (Not Glass) $0.28/lb
AL Litho Plates $0.47/lb
AL Machine Cuts $0.35-$0.55/lb
Aluminum Grills $0.28/lb
AL Turnings $0.12-$0.15/lb
Aluminum Transformers $0.03/lb
Dirty Aluminum $0.06-$0.15/lb
Misc. Scrap
Car Batteries $0.22-$0.26/lb
Lead $0.44/lb
304 Stainless Steel (Non-Magnetic) $0.30/lb
316 Stainless Steel (Non-Magnetic) $0.45/lb
Lead Wheel Weights $0.13/lb
Ballasts $0.08/lb
Scrap Generators $0.05-$0.17/lb
Circuit Breakers Prices Vary
Car Batteries $0.22-$0.26/lb
Lead Backup Batteries $0.16-$0.25/lb
Forklift Batteries $0.16-$0.22/lb
Steel Case Batteries $0.16-$0.23/lb
Cell Site Lead Batteries $0.16-$0.24/lb
A123 Batteries Call For Price
Absolyte Batteries Call For Price
Lithium Ion Batteries $1.50-$2.50/lb
Catalytic Converters
Small Foreign Cat $82-$97/each
Medium Foreign Cat $105-$130/each
Large Foreign Cat $117-$250/each
Foreign Pre-Cat $32-$45/each
Domestic Cat $51-$62/each
Pre-Domestic Cat $24-$34/each
Small GM Cat $83-$97/each
Large GM Cat $88-$117/each
Regular Breadloaf Cat $87-$100/each
Small Chrysler Cat $57-$71/each
Large Chrysler Cat $78-$97/each
Ford Cat $68-$82/each
Ford Pre-Cat $22-$28/each
Bead Cat $25-$35/each
Diesel Cat $5.00-$40/each
Small Wire $13-$17/each
Large Wire Cat $36-$48/each
Wire Pre-Cat $7-$12/each
Half Cat Varies, Ask
Aftermarket Cat $8/each
DPF Catalytic Converter $15-$450/each
AC Cats $63-$78/each
Steel & Iron
Steel $0.03-$0.05/lb
Stainless Steel $0.23/lb
Iron $87.00/ton
Light Iron $0.03/lb
Cast Iron $0.06-$0.07/lb
Brake Rotors $0.075/lb
Computer Scrap
Clean Green Motherboards $1.15/lb
Non-Green Motherboards $0.55/lb
Memory Chips $5.50-$7.50/lb
CPU Processor Chips $3.00-$25/lb
Whole Computer Towers w/HD $0.12/lb
Laptops $0.50/lb
Power Supplies (w/ wires) $0.12/lb
Harddrives w/Board $0.40/lb
Harddrive PC Board $2.50/lb
Telecom Equipment $0.12-$0.25/lb
Servers $0.18-$0.31/lb
Back PanelsCALL CALL
Low Grade Non PC Boards $0.08/lb
Insulated Wire $0.27-$0.62/lb
Computer Wire $0.32/lb
AL Heat Sinks $0.30/lb
Rare Earth Metals
Carbide $5.32/lb
Carbide Inserts/Shapes $6.00-$6.75/lb
Monel $1.60-$2.50/lb
FSX 414 $5.25/lb
Titanium $0.35/lb
Nickel $2.50-$3.00/lb
Inconel $2.00-$2.75/lb
Tantalum $25.00-$75.00/lb
High Speed Steel $.20/lb
Hastelloy $1.75/lb
Hastelloy Shavings $1.50-$2.00/lb
Hastelloy Solids $1.75-$2.25/lb
Tin $1.50/lb
Tin Solder $1.50-$4.00/lb
Babbit $2.50-$5.50/lb
Alnico Magnets $1.50-$2.00/lb
Silver NA
Bronze $1.18/lb
Platinum NA
Gold NA
Zinc NA
Tungsten $3.25/lb
Palladium NA
Incoloy NA
Rhodium NA
Molybdenum NA
Cobalt NA

Non-ferrous metals (copper, aluminum, etc.)

Non-ferrous metals, such as copper and aluminum, are highly sought after in the scrap metal market. Unlike ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals do not contain iron and are not attracted to magnets.

This makes them easier to identify and separate from other materials during the recycling process. Copper is particularly valuable due to its conductivity and corrosion resistance, while aluminum is prized for its lightweight properties.

Other non-ferrous metals include brass, lead, tin, nickel, zinc, as well as precious metals like gold, platinum, silver, and palladium. The prices of these metals fluctuate based on market demand and global trends.

Rare earth metals

Rare earth metals are a group of 15 elements, including lanthanides, scandium, and yttrium. Despite their name, rare earth metals are not necessarily scarce. Cerium and lanthanum are the most commonly used rare earths in applications like electronics, magnets, and catalysts due to their abundance and lower prices.

These valuable metals can be found in various locations around the world.

Most Valuable Scrap Metal

Copper, aluminum, brass, and stainless steel are among the most valuable types of scrap metal.


Copper is highly valued in the scrap metal industry due to its high demand at scrap yards. It falls under the category of non-ferrous metals, which also includes aluminum and brass.

Copper is often found in plumbing systems, making it a commonly recycled metal. The prices for scrap copper can fluctuate regularly, sometimes on a daily basis. However, despite the fluctuations in price, copper remains a valuable resource that can be easily recycled.


Aluminum is a non-ferrous metal, which means it doesn’t contain iron. This makes it more valuable than ferrous metals like steel and iron at scrap yards. However, the value of aluminum has decreased over time due to its abundance.

Despite this, the aluminum industry still sees profitability in scrapping due to the wide range of applications for this versatile metal. In fact, producers in the industry spend over $800 million annually on recycled and scrap aluminum material.

So if you have any aluminum items lying around, consider recycling them for some extra cash.


Brass is a valuable metal in the scrap industry, with a current value of around $1.76 per pound. It can be found in common household items like lamp fittings, taps, and doorknobs. While brass may not be as popular as other metals, it is relatively easy to find.

The value of brass, like other materials, can fluctuate on a daily basis. So if you come across any brass items that you no longer need or want, consider recycling them for some extra cash.

– Brass

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is highly valued as a scrap metal due to its composition of other metals like chromium, nickel, and molybdenum. This combination increases its overall value and makes it desirable for recycling.

Different grades of stainless steel have varying levels of these additional metals, which can affect their scrap worth. Manufacturers rely on accurate identification of stainless steel to ensure the quality and cost-effectiveness of their products.

With its high demand and potential profitability, selling stainless steel as scrap can be a lucrative endeavor.

Current Scrap Metal Prices

The current scrap metal prices can vary depending on national averages and regional variations.

National averages

The national averages for scrap metal prices vary depending on the type of metal. However, certain averages for specific metals can offer a general idea of what you might expect to receive when selling your scrap. Here is a table detailing the national average scrap metal prices for some of the most commonly traded metals.

Metal Type National Average Price
Copper $2.92 per pound
Steel $180.30 per ton

It’s important to note that these are averages and actual prices can vary significantly based on factors such as regional variations, market trends, and the condition of the scrap.

Regional variations

In the scrap metal industry, prices can vary significantly depending on the region. These fluctuations are often due to factors such as local demand, transportation costs, and varying overhead costs. The table below provides a snapshot of how scrap metal prices can differ across various regions.

Region Copper Prices (per lb) Aluminum Prices (per lb) Steel Prices (per lb)
US Central As provided by RIM Varies Varies
North East Varies Varies Varies
South West Varies Varies Varies
West Coast Varies Varies Varies

As seen in the table, prices for copper, aluminum, and steel are registered as ‘varies’ for most regions. This is due to the volatile nature of these markets, with prices that can change quickly and dramatically based on global economic shifts. For instance, copper prices can differ considerably between regions, underscoring the influence of local factors on the scrap metal market. The volatility of steel, aluminum, copper, and other metal prices has a significant impact on the scrap metal recycling industry. Therefore, it is crucial for buyers and sellers to stay informed about the latest market trends and price fluctuations in their specific region.

In conclusion, understanding regional price variations in the scrap metal industry is essential for both buyers and sellers, as it influences the value one can derive from their scrap metals. Regularly checking the current prices in your area can help you get the best deal possible.

Price charts and trends

The ever-fluctuating scrap metal prices are impacted by a myriad of factors such as global markets, supply and demand, and even the time of the year. Regular monitoring of these prices is crucial for both buyers and sellers to get the most value from their transactions. Here is a simple HTML table to give you an idea of current trends and the average prices for various commonly traded scrap metals.

Scrap Metal National Average Price Trend
Aluminum $0.42 per lb Increasing
Copper $3.15 per lb Stable
Iron $1.31 per lb Decreasing
Brass $1.85 per lb Stable
Stainless Steel $0.32 per lb Increasing

These prices are subject to change and may vary regionally. Staying updated with price charts and market trends can help you to negotiate better deals whether you are buying or selling scrap metal.

How to Get the Best Scrap Metal Prices

To get the best scrap metal prices, clean and separate the metals, check with multiple buyers, and stay updated on market trends.

Clean and separate the metals

Clean and separate the metals to increase their value and desirability to buyers. Here are some important steps to follow:

  1. Remove non-metallic attachments: Take the time to remove any non-metallic materials from your scrap metals, such as plastic, rubber, or paper. These attachments can lower the quality of the metal and reduce its value.
  2. Sort metals into separate containers: To make it easier for buyers and scrap yards, sort different types of metals into separate containers. This allows for quicker identification and evaluation of each metal’s worth.
  3. Use magnets: Utilize magnets to help with the separation process. Some metals, like steel and iron, are magnetic while others, like aluminum and copper, are not. By using a magnet, you can easily distinguish between ferrous (magnetic) and non-ferrous (non-magnetic) metals.
  4. Employ specific chemicals/tools: Certain chemicals or tools can aid in cleaning metals that may have dirt or contaminants on them. For example, using vinegar or a mild acid solution can help remove rust from iron or steel.
  5. Cleaned and separated metals contribute to efficiency: By following these steps, you contribute to the overall efficiency of the recycling process. Cleaned and separated metals can be easily melted down and reused without additional processing, saving time and effort for scrap yards.

Check with multiple buyers

To ensure that you get the best scrap metal prices, it is recommended to check with multiple buyers. This allows you to compare prices and find the highest offer for your scrap metal items. Researching and understanding current scrap metal prices beforehand will help you determine the worth of your items and negotiate better deals. By approaching different buyers, you can increase your chances of getting top dollar for your scrap metal.

Stay updated on market trends

It is important to stay updated on market trends in the scrap metal industry. This will help you make informed decisions about buying and selling scrap metal. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Follow industry news and publications to stay informed about changes in metal prices and market conditions.
  • Monitor global economic trends that may impact the demand for certain types of metals.
  • Keep an eye on geopolitical events that could affect the supply and demand of scrap metal.
  • Stay connected with local scrap yards and recycling centers to get updates on current prices and market trends.
  • Use online resources, such as price charts and trend analysis tools, to track historical data and predict future price movements.

Scrap Metal Recycling Process

The scrap metal recycling process involves collection, sorting, processing, and reusing metals. Curious to know how it works? Keep reading to learn more about this sustainable industry.

Collection and sorting

Scrap metal collection and sorting are crucial steps in the recycling process. Here’s how it is done:

  1. Scrap yards collect various types of scrap metal from individuals, businesses, and industries.
  2. The collected scrap metal is sorted based on its type, such as aluminum, copper, or steel.
  3. Sorting involves separating different metals to ensure efficient recycling.
  4. Scrap yards use magnets to separate ferrous metals like iron and steel from non – ferrous metals like aluminum and copper.
  5. Non – magnetic materials such as stainless steel and brass are manually sorted from the rest.
  6. Sorting also includes removing contaminants like plastic or rubber attachments from the metal pieces.
  7. Proper sorting ensures that each type of metal can be recycled efficiently without any cross – contamination.

Processing and melting

Scrap metal goes through a series of processing and melting stages before it can be recycled. Here’s how it works:

  1. Collection: Scrap metal is gathered from various sources, including industries, construction sites, and individuals.
  2. Sorting: The collected metal is sorted based on its type and composition, such as ferrous or non-ferrous metals.
  3. Shredding: Large pieces of scrap metal are shredded into smaller fragments to facilitate the melting process.
  4. Preheating: The shredded metal is preheated to remove any residual moisture or contaminants.
  5. Melting: The preheated metal is then melted in a high-temperature furnace, often exceeding 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Purification: During the melting process, impurities like dirt, paint, and coatings rise to the surface and are skimmed off.
  7. Alloying: If required, different types of scrap metals may be combined to create alloys with specific properties.
  8. Casting: The molten metal is poured into molds or cooled and solidified into various forms like ingots or bars.

Reusing and repurposing

Scrap metal recycling involves more than just collecting and processing materials. It also includes reusing and repurposing metals in creative ways. Here are some examples of how scrap metal can be given a new life:

  • Turning old car parts into industrial sculptures or furniture.
  • Using scrap metal to create unique art pieces or decorative items.
  • Repurposing metal containers or drums as planters or storage bins.
  • Building structures or fences using salvaged metal materials.
  • Transforming discarded metal pipes and fittings into creative lighting fixtures.

Selling Scrap Cars and Other Vehicles

Selling Scrap Cars and Other Vehicles

When selling scrap cars and other vehicles, it is important to consider the prices for different types of vehicles and factors that may affect those prices.

Prices for different types of vehicles

The prices for different types of vehicles can vary based on several factors, including the make, model, year, condition, and demand. For example, popular car models may have higher scrap values because their parts are in high demand. On the other hand, older vehicles or those with extensive damage may have lower scrap values. Additionally, the current prices of scrap metal also play a significant role in determining the value of a vehicle as scrap. It’s essential to consider these factors when selling a vehicle for its scrap value to get an accurate estimate of its worth.

Things to consider before selling

Before selling your scrap metal, there are a few important factors to consider:

  1. Value assessment: Determine the current market price for your specific type of scrap metal to ensure you get a fair deal.
  2. Quantity and quality: Assess the quantity and quality of the scrap metal you have. Larger quantities or higher-quality metals may fetch a better price.
  3. Legality: Ensure that you have the necessary permits or licenses required to sell scrap metal in your area. Familiarize yourself with any local regulations or restrictions.
  4. Recycling requirements: Check if there are any specific recycling requirements for certain types of scrap metal. Some metals may need to be properly processed or prepared before they can be sold.
  5. Safety precautions: Take appropriate safety precautions when handling and transporting scrap metal to avoid accidents or injuries.
  6. Reliable buyers: Research and identify reputable buyers who offer competitive prices for scrap metal. Consider getting multiple quotes to compare offers.
  7. Transportation logistics: Plan how you will transport the scrap metal to the buyer’s location, especially if you have large quantities or heavy items.
  8. Documentation: Gather all relevant documentation, such as proof of ownership, permits, and identification, that may be required by the buyer.
  9. Time commitment: Selling scrap metal can take time and effort, so assess whether it fits into your schedule and if it is worth your time investment.
  10. Environmental impact: Consider the environmental benefits of recycling scrap metal instead of disposing of it in landfills.

Tips for Scrap Metal Buying and Selling

To maximize your profits when buying and selling scrap metal, follow these tips: clean and separate the metals to get the best prices, check with multiple buyers to compare offers, and stay updated on market trends for better negotiation.

Safety precautions

To ensure safety when dealing with scrap metal, it is important to take the following precautions:

  1. Wear appropriate protective clothing, including a mask and gloves, to protect against hazardous chemicals.
  2. Use safety goggles to shield your eyes from any flying debris or particles.
  3. Wash your hands, arms, and any exposed skin thoroughly after handling scrap metals to remove any potentially harmful substances.
  4. Always use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like leather or Kevlar gloves, eye protection, and steel-toed boots.
  5. Recognize and control typical health and safety hazards associated with various metal scrap recycling processes.
  6. Use heavy – duty gloves, helmets, and eye protection as the most important equipment for safety when scrapping metals.

Required documents and permits

To legally engage in the scrap metal industry, there are certain documents and permits that you need to obtain. These include:

  1. License from the Clerk of the Circuit Court: Scrap metal processors and junk dealers are required to obtain licenses from the Clerk of the Circuit Court in their county.
  2. Electronic records: Metal recycling entities are obligated to maintain electronic records of all received and sold scrap metal.
  3. Compliance with state laws: Different states have laws that impose requirements on scrap metal dealers, such as purchase restrictions, record keeping, and reporting responsibilities.
  4. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines: OSHA provides a helpful document that assists in identifying and controlling health and safety hazards in metal scrap recycling.
  5. Record keeping: Scrap dealers must keep records of purchases of scrap metal over $100 for three years, as well as beer keg purchases for one year.

Negotiating prices

Scrap prices are always negotiable, regardless of what a scrap yard owner or manager tells you. Don’t be afraid to haggle and try to get the best price for your scrap metal. One strategy is to tie the negotiated price to an index, which can help ensure fair pricing.

Another approach is reverse-engineering the price differential to maximize your earnings. Stay informed about market trends and prices by regularly checking industry publications and websites.

This knowledge will empower you when it comes time to negotiate the best possible deal for your scrap metal.


In conclusion, understanding scrap metal prices is crucial for anyone involved in the recycling industry. By staying updated on market trends and factors that affect prices, individuals can make informed decisions when buying or selling scrap metal.

With the potential for significant economic activity and environmental benefits, it’s important to be aware of current scrap metal prices and how they fluctuate in the market.


1. What are scrap metal prices?

Scrap metal prices are the current rates for different types of scrap metals like aluminum, brass, steel, silver and copper per pound.

2. Where can I find the best scrap metal prices near me?

You can look up local listings or use online resources to see scrap metal prices in areas like Minnesota, Ohio, North Carolina and Alabama.

3. Can I get a chart for current scrap metal prices?

Yes! Many businesses provide a handy scrap metal prices chart you can refer to for information on materials from aluminium cans to titanium.

4. Is it possible that the scrap metal price will go up in 2023?

Predictions vary but some market analysts speculate that factors could lead to an increase in certain lines such as iron and galvanized steel.

5. Are car parts included in these listed scraps for resale?

Absolutely! Car parts are often part of the recycling stream; be sure to check specific items like mixed metals or ss (stainless steel) under car’s scrap section.

6. How do regional variable affect pricing deviations across states?

Prices may fluctuate based on location due to costs related with collecting, processing and transportation; hence why listings cover diverse regions from Houston,Texas, Indianapolis, through Connecticut down Oklahoma City towards Portland,Oregon all way back eastern New York side including Pennsylvania among many other locations.