Collecting and recycling scrap metal is a lucrative side-hustle that can earn you significant money by recycling discarded cars, appliances, electrical equipment, and other forms of scrap metal. However, to maximize your profits, it’s crucial to know which types of scrap metals pay the most and the best ways to collect and sell them.

Key Takeaways

  • Copper is one of the most valuable scrap metals, often fetching high prices due to its versatility and high demand.
  • The iScrap App is a useful tool for finding the best scrap yard prices in your area, making it easier to compare rates.
  • Scrapping car parts like junk cars, car batteries, and catalytic converters can be highly profitable due to the valuable metals they contain.
  • High-value household items such as used appliances, electric motors, and fridge motors can also be scrapped for a good return.
  • Safety is paramount when collecting scrap; always handle hazardous materials carefully, use proper tools, and wear protective gear.

Top Scrap Metals That Pay the Most

Collecting and recycling scrap metal is a great side-hustle to earn big money simply from recycling discarded cars, appliances, electrical equipment, and other forms of scrap metal. Copper is king when it comes to scrap metals that pay the most. Knowing the best types of base metals to collect can make your efforts more lucrative.


Copper wiring and tubing are some of the most valuable items to scrap. They can earn $4.00/lb. This metal is highly sought after due to its excellent conductivity and versatility in various industries.


Brass is another high-paying scrap metal. It is commonly found in plumbing fixtures, radiators, and musical instruments. The average price for brass is around $1.50 to $2.00 per pound.


Recycling metals like aluminum and aluminum cans can be a great way to make money. It fetches an average of $0.15 – $0.50 per pound. Resistant to corrosion and easy to recycle, it’s the perfect choice for money-savvy scrap collectors.

You might be surprised by how much scrap metal is actually worth something – everything from cables and wires to old alloy wheels, fridge motors, and much more can be sold to a scrap metal dealer for cash.

How to Find the Best Scrap Yards

Using the iScrap App

One of the most effective ways to find the best scrap yard is by using the iScrap App. This app allows you to see what each scrap yard currently pays for metals, making it easy to compare prices between yards in your area. This way, it makes it easy to compare prices between yards in your area and what users are reporting for each of them.

Comparing Local Prices

Oftentimes, finding the right yards means looking outside of your neighborhood. Where you or your local scrap yard are located often greatly influences the prices you see. If you are near the coast or a larger mill, you may see stronger prices. However, smaller communities or towns may have larger price discrepancies due to limited access or infrastructure.

Reading User Reviews

It can be difficult to find the most trusted local scrap yard. All scrap yards on TrustATrader are vetted and reviewed to help you find the best trader for the job. Reading customer reviews and asking for recommendations can provide valuable insights into the quality of services and prices offered by different scrap yards.

Doing research ahead of time and having an eye for the most profitable scrap items can help maximize your profits.

Scrapping Car Parts for Profit

Junk Cars

Scrapping a junk car can be highly profitable. Many places are willing to pay a good price for scrap automobiles. This is for a good reason, as scrap yards can get a lot of materials from them, like catalytic converters, engines, and aluminum rims. The larger and heavier your automobile is, the more it will be worth when it’s scrapped. Because heavier and larger automobiles are made of more metal, they are worth more when scrapped for the material.

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. This makes car batteries a lucrative item to scrap.

Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters are one of the most valuable parts of a scrap car. They contain precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which can fetch a high price. Even if your engine and transmission system are non-functional, you can still make a profit by selling the metal parts.

Scrapping car parts can be a reliable source of income if you know what to look for and where to sell. Always compare prices and read user reviews to find the best scrap yards.

High-Value Household Items to Scrap

When re-doing your house or cleaning out your space, you might have items that are extremely valuable lying around. Many individuals have a common scrap item stashed away in their house that may help them make extra income, such as the items we list below.

Precious Metals Worth Scrapping

Scrapping precious metals can be incredibly lucrative due to their high market value. Platinum, gold, and silver are among the most sought-after metals for scrapping, often fetching significant returns.

Platinum Jewelry

Platinum is a highly valuable metal, often used in fine jewelry. It is resistant to corrosion and has a high melting point, making it ideal for various industrial applications. The current market price for platinum is over $990/oz, making it a top choice for scrap collectors.

Gold Items

Gold is another precious metal that offers high returns. Whether it’s old jewelry, coins, or even dental gold, this metal is always in demand. The price of gold is currently around $1,886/oz, making it a lucrative option for those looking to make some extra cash.


Silver, often found in household items like cutlery and decorative pieces, is also worth scrapping. With a market price of over $22/oz, silver can provide a decent return. It’s important to note that silver prices can fluctuate, so staying updated on the latest rates is crucial.

Scrapping precious metals not only provides a financial benefit but also contributes to recycling efforts, reducing the need for new mining operations.

Tips for Maximizing Your Scrap Earnings

Sorting and Cleaning

Properly sorting and cleaning your scrap materials can significantly increase their value. Mitigating the risk of downgrades is essential. Clear communication with scrap companies regarding material specifications and documentation for downgraded items can help you get the best price.

Bulk Selling

Selling your scrap in bulk can often fetch a higher price per unit. Scrap yards are more likely to offer better rates for larger quantities, as it reduces their processing costs. Consider accumulating a substantial amount before making a sale.

Staying Updated on Prices

Scrap metal prices fluctuate frequently. Staying updated on current market prices can help you decide the best time to sell. Use resources like the iScrap App or other online platforms to monitor price trends and ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Scrapping items is a great way to make money. Doing research ahead of time and having an eye for the most profitable scrap items can help maximize your profits.

Safety Tips for Scrap Collectors

Handling Hazardous Materials

When dealing with scrap, it’s crucial to be aware of hazardous materials like lead, mercury, and asbestos. Always handle these materials with care and follow local regulations for disposal. Use appropriate containers to avoid contamination and ensure that you are working in a well-ventilated area.

Using Proper Tools

Using the right tools can make a significant difference in your safety and efficiency. Invest in high-quality tools designed for scrapping to minimize the risk of accidents. For example, bolt cutters, wire strippers, and metal shears are essential for various tasks. Make sure your tools are in good condition and replace any worn-out equipment.

Wearing Protective Gear

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. Additionally, wearing safety goggles and a helmet can protect you from flying debris. Footwear with steel toes is also recommended to safeguard your feet from heavy objects.

Remember, your safety is paramount. Taking the time to prepare and protect yourself can prevent accidents and ensure a more productive scrapping experience.

For all scrap collectors, safety is paramount. Always wear protective gear and be cautious of sharp objects. To learn more about how to stay safe while collecting scrap, visit our website. Your safety is our priority!


In conclusion, the world of scrap metal recycling offers numerous opportunities to earn significant money, provided you know what to look for and where to sell it. Copper remains the most lucrative, followed closely by other valuable metals such as aluminum, brass, and high-grade steel. Additionally, precious metals like platinum, gold, and silver can yield substantial returns. Utilizing tools like the iScrap App can help you find the best prices and scrap yards in your area. Always remember to prioritize safety and consult with experts to maximize your profits. Happy scrapping!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest paying scrap metal?

Copper is considered the highest paying scrap metal due to its high demand and versatile applications. It consistently generates high value at scrap yards.

Who pays the most for scrap metal?

The best way to find out who pays the most for scrap metal is by using the iScrap App. It allows you to compare prices between local scrap yards and see user reviews.

Which scrap metals will earn you the most money?

Some of the most lucrative scrap metals include copper, brass, aluminum, and high-grade steel. Precious metals like platinum, gold, and silver also yield high returns.

What is the best thing to scrap right now?

The value of scrap metal can vary, but some of the most valuable items to scrap include copper, aluminum, brass, and high-grade steel. Always check current market prices at your local scrap yard.

What appliance has the most copper in it?

Refrigerators and air conditioning units often contain a significant amount of copper, making them valuable items to scrap.

What car parts are worth scrapping?

Car parts such as catalytic converters, car batteries, and aluminum wheels are highly valuable for scrapping. They contain metals like platinum, lead, and aluminum, which fetch good prices at scrap yards.