Scrap yards offer a lucrative opportunity for individuals looking to make money from discarded items. From metals to car parts and household items, there are numerous things that can be scrapped for cash. Knowing what items fetch the highest prices can help maximize your earnings.

Key Takeaways

  • Copper is one of the most valuable scrap metals due to its high demand and versatility.
  • Car parts like engines, transmissions, and catalytic converters are worth a significant amount of money.
  • Household items such as appliances, wiring, and plumbing fixtures can also be scrapped for cash.
  • Researching and visiting multiple scrap yards can help you find the best prices for your scrap materials.
  • Always prioritize safety by handling hazardous materials carefully and using proper tools and protective gear.

Most Valuable Scrap Metals


Copper is one of the most sought-after metals in scrap yards. Its high conductivity and versatility make it extremely valuable. You can find copper in electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, and even in some household appliances. The price of copper can fluctuate, but it generally remains high due to its widespread use and demand.


Aluminum is another metal that fetches a good price at scrap yards. It’s lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and found in a variety of products, from beverage cans to car parts. Recycling aluminum saves a significant amount of energy compared to producing new aluminum, making it both economically and environmentally beneficial.


Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is highly valued for its durability and resistance to corrosion. It’s commonly found in plumbing fixtures, musical instruments, and decorative items. The price of brass can vary, but it is generally higher than that of many other metals due to its composition and utility.

Understanding the value of these metals can help you maximize your earnings when selling scrap. Always keep an eye on market trends to get the best price for your materials.

Scrap Car Parts Worth Money

Engines and Transmissions

Engines and transmissions are among the most valuable parts of a scrap car. Even if your engine and transmission system are non-functional, you can still make a profit by selling the metal parts. These components often contain aluminum and steel, which are highly sought after by scrap yards.

Car Batteries

Car batteries contain valuable metals like lead, plus you can often get cash for the plastics too. The average price is $0.22/lb. Recycling car batteries not only helps you earn some money but also contributes to environmental conservation by keeping hazardous materials out of landfills.

Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters are another high-value item due to the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals are used to reduce harmful emissions from vehicles, making catalytic converters both valuable and environmentally significant.

When scrapping car parts, always ensure you are following local regulations and guidelines to avoid any legal issues.

Household Items to Scrap


Large household appliances like washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators are excellent sources of scrap metal. These items often contain a significant amount of metal, making them highly valuable at scrap yards. Smaller appliances, such as microwaves and toasters, can also be scrapped, but they may not yield as much return due to their size.

Wiring and Cables

Electric cables and wires are another valuable household item to scrap. Copper wiring, in particular, is highly sought after due to its high market value. When scrapping wiring and cables, make sure to separate them from other materials to maximize your profit.

Plumbing Fixtures

Old plumbing fixtures, such as faucets, pipes, and valves, can be scrapped for their metal content. Brass and copper fixtures are especially valuable. If you’re re-doing your house or tearing down your home, you might have items that are extremely valuable lying around. Be sure to sort these items properly to get the best price at the scrap yard.

Scrapping these types of items requires some heavy equipment, so be sure you have someone nearby who can help move them before attempting anything else, or use a scrapping company to pick up your items for you.

Finding the Best Scrap Yard

Researching Online

To find the most trusted local scrap yard, start by researching online. Look for websites that list scrap yards and provide detailed information about their services. Check for certifications and affiliations with recognized industry bodies to ensure credibility.

Reading Customer Reviews

Customer reviews can be incredibly insightful. They offer firsthand accounts of other people’s experiences with the scrap yard. Look for reviews that mention the quality of service, pricing, and overall satisfaction. Pay attention to recurring themes in the reviews, whether positive or negative.

Visiting in Person

Finally, visit the scrap yard in person to get a feel for the place. Observe the cleanliness, organization, and professionalism of the staff. This will give you a better idea of what to expect when you bring in your scrap materials.

Taking the time to research and visit multiple scrap yards can help you find the best trader for the job.

Safety Tips for Scrapping

Handling Hazardous Materials

When dealing with scrap materials, safety starts with the right attire. Always wear thick gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges. Long sleeves and pants can prevent cuts and scratches. If you’re handling hazardous materials, make sure to use appropriate containers and follow local regulations for disposal.

Using Proper Tools

Using the right tools can make scrapping safer and more efficient. Invest in high-quality tools designed for the job, such as wire cutters, pliers, and hammers. If you’re dealing with heavy items, consider using a dolly or a cart to move them safely. Always have someone nearby to assist with heavy lifting.

Wearing Protective Gear

Protective gear is essential when scrapping. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris and a mask to avoid inhaling dust and fumes. Steel-toed boots can protect your feet from heavy falling objects. Remember, your safety is paramount.

Always practice safety and get advice from experts or local scrap yards before starting, so you have the best chance of success.

Non-Metal Items Worth Scrapping


Electronics are a treasure trove for scrappers. Items like old computers, smartphones, and tablets contain valuable components such as gold, silver, and copper. Scrap yards typically accept these materials, making them a profitable option. Additionally, circuit boards and other electronic parts can fetch a good price.


While not as lucrative as metals, certain types of plastics can still be worth scrapping. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) are commonly accepted by recycling centers. These plastics are often found in household items like bottles and containers. Recycling plastics helps reduce environmental waste and can earn you some extra cash.


Glass is another non-metal item that can be scrapped for money. Beverage bottles, windows, and glassware are often accepted by recycling centers. The value of glass varies, but it is generally priced by weight. Recycling glass not only helps the environment but also provides a small financial return.

Scrapping non-metal items can be a great way to contribute to environmental sustainability while earning some extra money. Always check with your local scrap yard to see what materials they accept and their current rates.

Non-metal items can also be valuable for scrapping. Items like old electronics, batteries, and even certain types of plastics can be recycled for cash. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to turn your trash into treasure. Visit our website to learn more about what non-metal items you can scrap and how to get started.


In conclusion, understanding what scrap yards pay the most for can significantly enhance your profitability in the scrap metal business. Copper stands out as the most lucrative metal, followed by other valuable metals like aluminum, brass, and high-grade steel. Additionally, car parts, batteries, and even small items like ballasts can yield substantial returns. Always prioritize safety and conduct thorough research to identify the best scrap yards and the current market prices. By doing so, you can maximize your earnings and contribute to the recycling efforts that benefit both the environment and the economy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest paying scrap metal?

Copper is generally the highest paying scrap metal due to its high demand and versatility. Other valuable metals include aluminum, brass, and high-grade steel.

What appliance has the most copper in it?

Large appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners typically contain a significant amount of copper, especially in their motors and wiring.

How can I find the best scrap yard?

You can find the best scrap yard by researching online, reading customer reviews, asking for recommendations, and visiting the yard in person to check their services and prices.

What car parts are worth the most money at a scrap yard?

Engines, transmissions, car batteries, and catalytic converters are among the most valuable car parts that can be sold to a scrap yard.

What household items are worth scrapping?

Household items worth scrapping include appliances, wiring and cables, and plumbing fixtures. These items often contain valuable metals like copper and aluminum.

What safety tips should I follow when scrapping?

Always handle hazardous materials carefully, use proper tools, and wear protective gear such as gloves and safety glasses to ensure your safety while scrapping.