Scrap metal delivery: how to make money by handing over ferrous and non-ferrous metal


The collection and delivery of scrap metal is an idea that has long been known, but has not lost its relevance. And today, if you wish, you can make good money on the delivery of scrap metal to collection points.

A lot of things around us, which have long turned into rubbish that occupies the living space and the environment around us, are made of metals, or have them in their composition. Such garbage can be turned into an additional source of income, the amount of which will largely be determined by the degree of your involvement in this business.

In addition, this activity has other benefits. By handing over scrap metal, you rid the environment of waste, in some cases hazardous waste, and the recycling of metal helps save the planet’s resources. After all, the extraction of iron ores is quite expensive and requires high-tech equipment.

In the end, the search and collection of scrap metal is a rather exciting process and for many it becomes, if not a matter of life, then a favorite hobby that brings good additional income.

Types of accepted metals

Usually there are three main types of scrap metal: ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals and stainless steel.

1. Ferrous metals

Ferrous metals are iron and iron-based alloys – steel and cast iron. Steel and cast iron are formed by combining iron and carbon, the difference in them is only in the amount of carbon. If its share is higher than 2.14%, then cast iron comes out, if it is lower, steel is obtained. To improve the properties of the material, other elements are added to them, such as copper, nickel and chromium.

Ferrous metal waste is cheaper (10-30 rubles per kilogram) than stainless steel or non-ferrous metal, so it is profitable to sell ferrous metal in large quantities, for example, tons. The low price is explained by the prevalence and popularity of the material. Ferrous metal is used both in industry and in everyday life, so finding and collecting it in large volumes is quite simple.

According to the presence of alloying elements, which serve to improve chemical properties, ferrous metals are divided into carbon (A) and alloying (B). In total, there are 28 types of metal qualities and 67 groups, determined by the content of alloying elements. Metal quality indicators are indicated by numbers: numbers from 1 to 16 are used for steel, from 17 to 24 – for cast iron, from 25 to 28 – for non-class categories.

Here are just some especially popular categories of ferrous metal according to GOST 2787-75:

  • 3A is steel lumpy scrap metal, with parameters not exceeding 1.5×0.5×0.5 meters, weighing no more than 600 kg and not less than 1 kg. For example, pipes with a diameter greater than 150mm and a thickness of at least 4mm. Pipes are sawn lengthwise or flattened;
  • 5A – oversized pieces of waste;
  • 12A – household and industrial scrap metal in packages, sorted and other waste.
  • 17A – waste from the production of iron and scrap, weighing up to 20 kg.
  • 19A – waste from the production of pig iron No. 3 with a high fluorine content.
  • 20A – oversized cast iron waste without size and weight requirements.
  • 22A – cast iron scrap metal of category No. 3.

2. Stainless steel

Stainless steel is valued much higher than scrap iron or other ferrous metal. It is quite difficult to visually identify stainless steel, as it looks like carbon steel. The use of a magnet may also not help, since the percentage of nickel, chromium and other components varies greatly. Therefore, the proposed stainless steel before delivery should be put aside in a separate place in order to find out its composition later.

The most expensive stainless steel will be the steel with the highest chromium and nickel content. They will help to accurately determine the chemical composition at the reception point, for this they use spectrometers.

Prices for stainless steel fluctuate in the range of 20-160 rubles per kilogram. Several factors affect the cost:

  1. volume – the larger it is, the higher the purchase price;
  2. metal condition;
  3. type of alloy – distinguish between chromium (ferritic), austenitic, martensitic, combined stainless steel.
  4. brand;
  5. product shape (naturally, lump and sheet metal will cost more than chips

Types of stainless steel:

  • Chrome (ferritic). It contains about 20% chromium, is resistant to contact with aggressive substances. Chromium steel is used in the automotive industry, in the manufacture of heating and refrigeration systems, and in chemical enterprises.
  • Austenitic . The most popular type of stainless steel, this alloy is used almost everywhere. Austenitic steel includes chromium and nickel, this alloy is strong and light.
  • Martensitic . Martensitic steels have a high content of chromium and carbon, nickel, tungsten, vanadium and molybdenum are also included in small amounts. Martensitic steel is heat-resistant and easily tolerates low temperatures.
  • Combined . The most innovative type, combining the properties of the types described above, for example, austenitic-ferritic and austenitic-martensitic steels. Such types of steel are manufactured individually depending on the needs of a particular customer.

3. Non-ferrous metal

Non-ferrous metals have always cost and will cost more than ferrous ones. This is explained by the scope of their application and properties. Non-ferrous metals have a low specific gravity, flexibility, thermal conductivity and other valuable characteristics.

Non-ferrous metals include copper, bronze, aluminum, lead, brass, zinc, titanium, and tin.

  • aluminum . Aluminum is found in cables and electrical engineering, and is often used to make kitchen utensils and beverage cans.
  • Copper . Often used in electrical engineering, found in cables, radiators, pipes.
  • Bronze . used for the production of sanitary ware, various gears of decor elements.
  • Brass . It can be used in the manufacture of sanitary ware, musical instruments.
  • Zinc . Often found in the construction industry, zinc is used to produce fasteners, bolts and nuts, tools, batteries.
  • Lead . Contained in batteries, used for lining laboratories to absorb radioactive radiation.
  • Tin . Rarely found in its pure form, as natural reserves of tin are depleted. It is used in the production of bronze, found together with lead in solders used to connect elements in electronic circuits, found in antiques and antiques.
  • Titan . It is used in the food, oil and electrical industries, for the production of surgical instruments and other things.

The type of metal can be determined primarily by visual qualities and magnetic properties. Unlike ferrous metal, all non-ferrous metals are not magnetic. Copper can be identified by a reddish tint, bronze and brass are distinguished by a yellowish and golden color, aluminum is a silvery metal, light in weight, and highly ductile. Accurate data and analysis of the alloy can be obtained at scrap metal collection points.

In fact, copper and brass are rated the highest at collection points. Although some metals are more expensive than copper scrap (for example, tin), in practice they are extremely rare in their pure form.

Who to sell scrap metal to?

You can donate scrap metal to different places and with different benefits, a lot depends not only on the quality, type and condition of the metal, but also on your ability to deliver it, prepare it, have time, etc.

  1. Reception points. There are large metal depots and smaller acceptances. If you collect large volumes of metal, then it makes no sense to hand it over to resellers – you only need to consider this option. You can bring scrap on your own, or order services for its removal. Delivery terms and prices vary from place to place.
  2. Resellers . As a rule, resellers do not have stationary collection points, they travel around rural and suburban areas with loudspeakers or go home and collect old household appliances and metal from the population at a fairly low price, in order to then hand it all over to collection points. Retirees usually become clients of resellers.
  3. Small buyers . In small towns there are people who buy everything in a row. Most often they work semi-legally, their prices are average, but they can accept waste paper, film, and plastic.

What is most often sold for scrap?

What is usually scrapped? Naturally, ferrous metal is sold much more often and in much larger volumes for objective reasons than non-ferrous metal, but the origin of this scrap is completely different. It can be:

  • old cars and trucks, special equipment, spare parts and machine components;
  • agricultural machinery, including all components and parts, as well as auxiliary mechanisms and trailers;
  • former water equipment – boats, boats and other small vessels and their components and spare parts.
  • motorcycles, mopeds, bicycles and their parts;
  • tools – construction, metalwork, assembly;
  • electrical goods and household appliances, their cases and used spare parts;
  • all kinds of containers made of steel and cast iron – bathtubs, barrels, tanks;
  • kitchen utensils, knives, hardware;
  • metal construction debris, trimmings, fragments, shavings;
  • haberdashery and art products;
  • accessories for sports, fishing, hunting, etc.

The list is far from exhaustive. The most popular, and therefore the most inexpensive of the non-ferrous metals, which is most often brought in for purchase, is aluminum. Reception points often donate aluminum profiles, electrical cables, kitchen utensils (used pots and cutlery), canisters, engine parts, drink cans, and hardware.

Where to look for scrap metal

You can find metal almost everywhere, the main thing is that it is not someone’s property and you are not accused of stealing.

Places to search for scrap metal:

  • Own yard . If you live in a private house or have a summer cottage, and have not cleaned your territory for a long time, you can probably find unnecessary metal things. It can be old pipes, fittings, wiring, parts from your old motorcycle or grandfather’s Moskvich, old garden tools and much more.
  • Garage/barn/balcony/storage/cellar . The same applies to the premises that the population traditionally uses to store all sorts of rubbish.
  • Landfills . On the outskirts of any settlements there are always enough unauthorized dumps where you can find everything from discarded kettles to gas stoves and refrigerators. To search in such places, it is best to get respirators or other items of protection. It is especially worth paying attention to abandoned landfills, which are not known among searchers.
  • Garbage sites . A lot of metal can also be found within settlements – at garbage sites, as well as spontaneous dumps and heaps at bus stops, near demolished houses and buildings, construction sites, repair shops.
  • Abandoned businesses . After the collapse of the USSR, it was in such places that most of the metal could be found, now this item has become less relevant, but do not forget about it. Even in already well-explored plants and their environs, with the help of metal detectors, deposits of ferrous metal, aluminum, and copper products are often found.
  • Countryside . Scrap seekers pay special attention to abandoned villages, collective farms, cowsheds, as well as roadsides, where you can find a large number of discarded or lost parts. Old maps and metal detectors are used to identify such places.
  • Rivers and canals . A separate niche in the search for scrap metal can be called the collection of metal using powerful neodymium magnets. Especially a lot of metal debris can be found in rivers near settlements, under bridges, near old enterprises, crossings, camps and recreation centers. The downside is that non-ferrous metals, as well as some stainless steels, cannot be searched with the help of such magnets – they are not magnetized.
  • Dismantling services . Some scrap metal collectors earn extra money on the services of dismantling old houses, sheds, fences. In the process of work, you can find aluminum poles, metal beams and ceilings, and much more.
  • Notice boards . A lot of rubbish for next to nothing or free of charge with the condition of self-delivery is displayed on ad sites such as “Avito” and “Yula”, special attention should be paid, for example, to old electrical equipment, which may contain a large amount of non-ferrous metal.

What products contain a lot of copper

One of the most profitable non-ferrous metals, often found in pure form, is copper. Therefore, many people who decide to engage in the collection and delivery of scrap metal immediately ask themselves the question, which items contain this valuable metal?

Let’s look at a few key areas.

What products contain copper:

1. Electrical engineering . Copper is mainly used in the electrical industry. Cables and wires are produced from it, for which pure copper with a minimum content of impurities is used, since they significantly reduce electrical conductivity even with small proportions in the composition.

The largest volume of copper can be found in old electrical appliances:

  • Transformers . Old powerful transformers contain hundreds of kilograms of metal.
  • Old TVs . In the transformer, choke and mounting wires of tube TVs, you can find 1-1.5 kg of copper. Up to half a kilogram of metal can be taken from kinescope TVs, here the most valuable are resistors, kinescopes and capacitors.
  • Old Soviet refrigerators . Only one can collect 2-3 kg of copper. Cooling pipes, freezers, engines were made from it.
  • Details of other electrical appliances . These are units of washing machines and microwave ovens, electric motors, starters, magnetic starters, lamp fittings, relays.

2. Elements of water supply and heat supply. Copper is resistant to temperature extremes, ultraviolet radiation, and corrosion, therefore it is contained in devices involved in heat and water supply. It:

  • parts of air conditioners;
  • heat exchangers;
  • coolers for system blocks;
  • heating radiators;
  • seamless pipes;
  • plumbing.

3. Items for the home and interior, dishes . Due to its aesthetic appearance and wear-resistant properties, copper is often used to create various items for the home, kitchen and decor. it

  • blinds;
  • front parts of refrigerators, dishwashers;
  • door leafs;
  • storage utensils;
  • teapots, basins;
  • cutlery;
  • hoods;
  • kitchen countertops;
  • bathtubs and sinks;
  • fans;
  • figurines;
  • souvenir products.

In addition, copper is effective in the fight against pathogenic microorganisms, which is why it is also used in the production of items such as:

  • bactericidal countertops;
  • railing;
  • doorknobs;
  • window fittings;
  • medical instruments.

4. Other . Copper can be found in many other places and items. These are building materials (for example, copper roofing); these are copper jewelry and coins. A large amount of copper can be extracted from wrecked cars, there is copper in the engine, wiring, radiator, on-board computer.

Not everywhere copper is used in its pure form, so do not forget about copper alloys – these are brass, bronze, cupronickel, manganin, nickel silver. It will cost less, it all depends on the percentage of its content in the alloy. Brass is used for medals and cartridge cases, nickel silver is used to create medical instruments, and cupronickel is often used to make jewelry.

Where to find copper

It is unlikely that you will find a lot of copper in your home, unless you have an old garage or shed chock full of wiring and old electronics. Most often, copper is found:

  • in abandoned factories . In abandoned factories, you can find a lot of non-ferrous scrap, wiring, wire, and various production waste.
  • outskirts of settlements . Especially when it comes to villages where residents have been throwing things away without any control for many years – you can find old electronics in such garbage.
  • Car repair bases . Here you will definitely find old used spare parts, wiring and so on.
  • Landfills . A place where you can find anything, including a lot of discarded electrical equipment.
  • Advertisement sites . Many people put up old equipment on ad sites either for free for pickup or for a penny. They either do not know that valuable metal may be contained inside, or they simply have no time to extract non-ferrous metal and just need to clutter up the house.

How to prepare scrap metal for delivery

In order for your scrap metal to be accepted at the collection point, and at a good price, it must be prepared in advance.

  1. Separate non-metallic products from metal products: plastic, glass, wooden parts, paint and other elements. For example, if a car door is for rent, it is worth peeling off the skin, getting rubber, glass. In most cases, the separation is carried out mechanically, which is why a lot of time and effort is spent on some types of waste. For example, you will have to work on cleaning the wiring from insulation, you will need a clerical knife or pullers with hooks. Keep in mind that removing insulation by firing is punishable by fines, and “burnt” will cost less than “brilliance”. If you do not have time to do all this, the cable cleaning work can be done for you at the reception point for an additional fee. As a rule, large points have special equipment for this.
  2. Clean the metal from dirt, sand and other blockages , as you will be gladly charged a percentage for rubbish. You will lose especially strongly if you receive a percentage of rubbish when delivering a large amount of scrap metal. An example is excavated pipes with earth.
  3. Divide metal into black, non-ferrous and stainless steel . Otherwise, you can accidentally miss out on the benefits. Different metals have different values, so for heterogeneous scrap, receivers are likely to take weight off.
  4. Sort scrap by purpose and form . It is advisable to sort the scrap according to its purpose (food, electrical, motor, industrial). In addition, lumpy scrap and shavings are separately accepted at the collection points – this should not be forgotten either.
  5. Divide large scrap into parts . For ease of transportation, you need to cut large pieces of scrap metal into pieces. In addition, some collection points drop the price for bulky scrap, explaining that it will be inconvenient to load and transport it. Cutting is done with a grinder or a gas cutter – of course, in compliance with all necessary safety precautions.
  6. Protect scrap from exposure to precipitation . It often takes a long time from the moment of collection and storage to transportation to acceptance. During this period, good metal can rust a lot, oxides can appear on it – all this can become the basis for lowering the reception price. Therefore, the collected metal should at least be covered with a tarpaulin, and at the same time hiding it from prying eyes.

Also, before handing over the metal, if possible, it is advisable to weigh it, so that when contacting acceptances it is easier to understand which of them work honestly and which ones do not work very well.

Is it possible to hand over the metal without preparation? Not all people who wish to hand over scrap metal have tools and free space for storing it at that time. Therefore, all the above points today can be shifted to companies specializing in comprehensive services for the receipt of scrap. They are engaged in dismantling, sorting, cutting, and transportation – if necessary, uncleaned scrap will be taken from you from anywhere. Of course, the benefit for the dealer is greatly reduced, but everything is relative here, since a person can always have other, much more profitable ways to spend his time.

What can not be scrapped

Not all scrap metal is allowed for delivery, so a legal scrap metal collection point will not accept:

  • property of third parties (according to the legislation of the Russian Federation, the receiver must write down the passport data of the deliverer and check the documents for ownership or present a power of attorney);
  • property owned by public utilities;
  • military equipment and ammunition;
  • scrap metal with a high radioactive background;
  • scrap metal containing explosive liquids and oils;
  • products of historical and artistic value;
  • grave monuments, fences and tablets;
  • rails, steel cables, slings;
  • sewer hatches;
  • sealed metal tanks and containers under pressure or with unknown substances;
  • any toxic and hazardous scrap that requires special disposal conditions.

Also, the collection points will refuse from heavily contaminated waste, which will need to be further cleaned from cement, plastic, paintwork materials.

Accordingly, the collection point may not accept waste that is heavily contaminated with plastic, cement, paintwork materials. In order not to encounter such a situation, you need to clean the scrap in advance.

Is it legal to use a metal detector?

Although you can buy a metal detector in any store and without any permissions, you can not use it in business everywhere. And out of ignorance, any owner of this device can get a real term, especially if the search for scrap metal with a metal detector develops into treasure hunting, since the line here is rather thin due to the lack of clear formulations.

In particular, article 243.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation states that:

“search and (or) removal of archaeological objects from places of occurrence on the surface of the earth, in the ground or under water, carried out without permission (open sheet) resulting in damage or destruction of the cultural layer, is punishable by a fine in the amount of up to 500,000 rubles or in the amount of wages , or other income of the convict, for a period of up to eighteen months. Either correctional labor for up to one year, or imprisonment for up to two years.”

In practice, obtaining permission or the so-called open list does not occur. More serious responsibility will be borne by those persons who will carry out such actions within the boundaries of the territories of cultural heritage objects (monuments of history and culture) of the peoples of the Russian Federation, or the identified object of cultural heritage. In this case, a fine of 700 thousand rubles or imprisonment for up to 4 years is threatened. The fine may be increased to 1 million rubles, and the term of detention – up to 6 years, if the same acts are committed using special technical means of search and (or) earth-moving machines; by a person using his official position; with a group of persons by prior agreement or an organized group.

Here it is worth returning to the concepts of “archaeological object” and “cultural layer”. It is worth remembering that any objects that you dig up can become archaeological objects without your desire, and a layer of ordinary-looking soil can turn out to be a cultural layer (it can become such only after field archaeological work has been carried out).

That is, if the site is not listed in the register of archaeological objects of the Russian Federation, then you can dig. However, even there you can dig only objects no older than 100 years, without the intention of looking for archaeological objects. Naturally, it is impossible to make the device search for objects of a certain age, and it will be difficult to prove your good intentions to the police, so all this is somewhat arbitrary.

Thus, without serious fears, its owners can only conduct searches with a metal detector where there is officially no cultural layer (the territory is not included in the State Register) or the layer has already been disturbed – that is, on beaches, vegetable gardens or plowed fields.

In addition, experienced diggers are advised to get acquainted not only with the laws, but even more importantly, with judicial practice. In particular, according to the above-mentioned 243.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation Illegal search and (or) seizure of archaeological objects from the places of occurrence and part 1 of article 7.15 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation Carrying out field archaeological work without permission. Often, judicial practice has nothing to do with what the laws say.

Do not dig in places of security zones of gas and oil pipelines and other communications, including water pipes, underground electrical cables, and so on. Experienced diggers are advised to check with the cadastral map before leaving, as sometimes the land turns out to be in someone’s property.

How to make money on scrap metal

How much can you earn from scrap metal

Settlements with the scrap supplier are made immediately after the assessment and weighing of the scrap. The cost of scrap varies not only from the factors described above (quality, condition, type of metal, etc.), but also from the region, locality, level of competition and demand for a particular metal in the industry.

The last factor can be considered the most global. If the metal is required for processing industries and metallurgical enterprises, then the price for it rises. If a large volume of material is not required, the cost also falls.

Below we have provided approximate prices for ferrous, non-ferrous and stainless steel scrap at the beginning of 2022.

Type of scrap metalCost, rub. per kg(Retail)
black scrap
FOR lump steel scrap10-30
5A steel scrap oversize10-30
12A steel scrap10-30
17A (cast iron)10-30
19A (cast iron)10-30
20A cast iron oversized10-30
22A cast iron oversized10-30
ferrous metal shavings4-15
Household scrap
Large home appliances3-11
Small household appliances2-7
Electronics, radio components20-60
colored scrap
copper shine210-850
copper cable140-750
Lump copper205-835
Unsorted copper (mix)200-850
copper shavings170-715
food grade aluminum60-195
Aluminum profile57-190
aluminum cable35-150
Aluminum crankcase40-125
Aluminum (mix)50-160
aluminum cans35-120
aluminum shavings15-55
Electrical aluminum60-205
Bronze (mix)150-540
bronze shavings100-460
Lead (ingots and remelting)45-135
Lead sheath cable50-140
Brass (mix)125-500
brass shavings100-460
Magnesium CAM25-80
Magnesium shavings15-55
Titan (mix)115-290
titanium shavings55-200
stainless steel
Stainless steel 8% Ni (oversize)34-115
Stainless steel 8% Ni37-120
Stainless steel 10% Ni (oversized)45-150
Stainless steel 10% Ni48-160

It is also worth considering that in the delivery of metal, the principle “wholesale – cheaper” that is familiar to many types of activities does not work. Here everything is exactly the opposite, it is more profitable to sell metal in bulk and in tons, and you can earn more on large lots.

As you might guess, there are too many variables and a lot of luck when it comes to making money from scrap metal to talk about any stable income ranges. For the most part, we are talking about small numbers and doing this business as a hobby, but on the network you can find live examples when a person earned six-figure sums on scrap metal per month, while doing just that.

For example, you can find the story of a pensioner from Tver Petrov. He used his “Niva” with a Chinese metal detector to search for cops at remote abandoned farms and enterprises, and per day, on average, dug out 500-700 kilograms of metal, mostly ferrous metal. For seven months, in this way, he managed to earn more than 1.1 million rubles, that is, almost 170 thousand rubles a month. At the same time, he went to the cops 25 days a month.

There are other examples as well. For example, when a person has no desire to travel far out of town and deal with a metal detector, and he decides to earn extra money by manually collecting “popular” waste, for example, aluminum cans. In large numbers they can be found, for example, in places of mass recreation of citizens – along the banks of intra-city reservoirs or on the outskirts. However, even with serious efforts, it is difficult to earn more than 5-10 thousand rubles a month here.


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