Top 5 Factors in Selecting a Metals Recycler to Maximize the Value of Your Scrap Metal Program


You have scrap metal in your fabrication or manufacturing operation and while the goal is to operate in a way to minimize scrap, it is every business’s job to maximize the money that can be earned from those cutoffs, shavings and obsolete lengths. 

Obviously working with a team you can trust and that you can count on for quick service is of paramount importance.  Beyond that here are 5 major factors to consider when looking at maximizing the value for your scrap steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper and brass. 

1. Sorting and Segregating of Metals: 

Choose a metals recycler that prioritizes proper sorting and segregation of several types of metals. This ensures that each type of metal is valued accurately and maximizes your potential revenue. A few extra self-dumping hoppers, tubs or drums on the shop floor can make an enormous difference in the money you are able to earn.  Most scrapyards would be willing to even spot a few extra dumpsters or containers to have your employees sort the material on site—it definitely is worth extra money for your metal if your staff is committed to the effort or if your operation is set up to run specific materials on certain machines. 

Even if you don’t sort your metal to the alloy or chemistry of the material, some operations like Sahd Metal Recycling are happy to give you credit for higher grade material.  This is most often seen for steel or stainless steel.  Because our operation prepares steel with the right chemistry requirements for foundries often thin sheets low in Cr and Mn and without hardening additives like Ni and other elements are paid at a premium even if mixed in a steel dumpster.  If we are aware of the specifics of your operation and as part of our consultative process we will spot higher value materials and estimate a percentage of the weight attributed to these types of material.  The same often happens with stainless with 316, 310, 330 or higher grade alloys mixed in with 304 if it’s not hard to separate.   

This first factor, segregation of metals and working with a partner that will help you figure out the best way to achieve this is easily the most important factor.  We are very sensitive to the fact that production is paramount on the shop floor and space is at a premium so we will work with you to come up with the best plan that will work for you. 

2. Transparent Formula Pricing: 

Transparency in pricing is essential when selecting a metals recycler. Look for a recycler that utilizes a clear and fair formula for determining the value of your scrap metal. The formula should be based on a benchmark that is either based on an open trading commodity or a benchmark that reports on actual mill sales.   

Often times the benchmarks will vary by volatility and type based on the type of metal.  Steel is typically priced at the beginning of the month and some of the bigger players in the space are Fastmarkets, Argus Media or Davis Index.  Your partner should be able to help you find a category and market that works for your business.  These publications have more frequently updated categories for non-ferrous metals like aluminum, stainless steel, copper and brass, but these categories have public information sites like Kitco Metals and many others have live or slightly delayed daily tickers to get real time pricing.  We subscribe to Metal Exchange Direct for this information. 

No matter what the benchmark, if it is a trusted one the best part of formula pricing is you will know that your price is automatically updated with the moves of the market.  This transparency of sharing the formula percentage by type is crucial to ensure you maximize the money you will be paid for your metal. 

3. Accurate and Complete Ticketing and Reporting: 

Choose a recycler that provides accurate and detailed tickets and reports for each transaction. This may seem like a given, but this is not always the case. These records should include information such as the weight of each metal type, date of pickup and pricing calculations. Transparent and comprehensive documentation helps you monitor and verify the accuracy of transactions, enabling you to better manage your scrap metal program and track your financial gains. 

This also comes into play for month and year end reporting of totals, and one more data point on an increasingly data driven shop floor that can expose job bottlenecks, inefficient scheduling, or poor metal purchase planning.  Sometimes the only way to know whether you are using your materials effectively is by tracking your scrap metal. 

4. Prompt Payment: 

It is understood but a check needs to come with that ticket and the terms need to be prompt!  Going with a scrap metal dealer that sends the check matching the itemized statement is important, and with interest rates now yielding something, the earlier the better with payment! 

5.  Communication with Your Scrap Service Provider: 

Select a metals recycler that places importance on regular and open communication. This includes discussing pickup schedules, responding quickly by text, call or email for service and showing up quickly with a truck for service!  Being able to contact your scrap metal partner when you have a service emergency, a need to analyze alloys of materials you purchased to ensure certification is correct.  Consistent communication comes into play with monthly formula updates, pricing estimates and every aspect of servicing your needs. A strong customer service focus ensures a smooth and efficient relationship with your scrap service provider and allows for better collaboration in maximizing the value of your scrap metal program.   

By considering these five factors when selecting a metals recycler, you can greatly enhance the value and efficiency of your scrap metal program. Each of these aspects combined with a partner that is invested in your success can lead to more revenue for your company. 


Acceptable Materials

Appliances including:
  • Stoves
  • Microwaves
  • Washers and Dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • FOR A $10 FEE—Air Conditioners

End of Life Items Including:
  • Machinery (all fluids,pans and cylinders removed)
  • Farm Equipment
  • Farm Machinery
  • Lawnmowers
  • Cast Iron Patio Furniture
  • Cast Iron Outdoor Railing
  • Sheet Metal
  • Steel Wheels
  • Steel

Nonferrous Scrap:
  • Aluminum
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Aluminum Pots and Pans
  • Aluminum Siding/Gutters/Downspouts
  • Aluminum Patio Furniture
  • Aluminum Wheels
  • Aluminum Wire
  • Auto Batteries
  • Brass Fixtures/Lamps Decorative items
  • Cable, Fence and Wire
  • Christmas Lights
  • Copper
  • Copper and Brass Plumbing Pipes
  • Copper and Brass Plumbing Valves and Connectors
  • Copper Tubing
  • Copper Wire
  • Electric Motors
  • Insulated Wire
  • Radiators
  • Screen Doors/Windows (glass removed)
  • Stainless Steel

Prohibited Materials

  • Acetylene Cylinders
  • Asbestos or Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)- applies to both fibrous and solid materials
  • Any Scrap Containing Refrigerants (CFC or HCFC) (Freezers, Refrigerators)  Air Conditioners are accepted for a $10 fee
  • Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT/tube-style computer monitors or televisions)
  • Closed Compressed Gas Cylinders – high pressure cylinders with valve intact
  • Combustible or Flammable Materials – fuels, paints, degreasers, unpunctured aerosol cans
  • Corrosive Materials – highly acidic or caustic materials (battery acid, caustic soda, etc.)
  • Explosive Materials, Munitions, Shell Casings – includes suspect military scrap
  • Free Flowing Liquids (including water)
  • Hazardous Waste – toxic or poisonous materials or wastes
  • Infectious Materials – blood-soaked or biohazard items
  • Liquids or Scrap Containing Free Flowing Liquids – fuels, antifreeze, oils, hydraulic fluid, paints
  • Mercury Containing Materials – mercury-containing thermostats, switches or fluorescent light bulbs
  • Non-Metallic Items – concrete, wood, asphalt, dirt, debris, tires (more than 5 per auto)
  • PCB-Containing Materials
  • Whole tanks uncut
  • Radioactive Scrap – anything exhibiting radiation levels above background
  • Scrap with Small Capacitors that contain 50 ppm of PCBs