Common Scrap Metals and where to Find Them

The scrap metal industry may not be as glamorous as others, but it is just as important. Not only to the environment, but you can recycle, upcycle, and exchange your discarded scrap metals – for cash payments! The key here is to know about the types of metals, what they are used for as well as their value.

Separating and sorting your scrap metal into different types is the first step. A magnet can help you separate the metal into two main categories. One is ferrous (which the magnets attract) and the other, non-ferrous. You want more non-ferrous metals; these are valuable and are worth all the trouble and the money.

Identify and Know Your Metals

When you know the types of scrap metal you are dealing with, it becomes a lot easier. Just remember though, the value of scrap metal depends on the quantity, the quality, and the type of material you bring to the scrap yard. This quick guide will help you discern the right scrap metal and look for opportunities where you can find them.

Take a hard look at this metal list to discover scrap metal around your home that could help earn you money. Share this list with others and help protect and conserve the earth’s resources.


This is a commonly recycled scrap metal. You can find aluminum in your soda cans, discarded food wrap foils, an entire screen door frame, or storm windows. Check your air conditioning units and old mobile homes, they will most likely have aluminum wiring.


It’s easy to find brass in your home. Your air conditioning unit is a good place to start. Other things such as door knobs, brass-plated crockery, and old bed frames are made from brass. You can get up to *$1.10/lb for brass shells there. Look for brass in old electronics’ wiring too.


An interesting fun fact is that copper was the first metal to be handled by humans, as early as 4500 B.C. Later came alloys that they mixed with copper and other metals to create new metals, for example, bronze. The U.S. penny was made of pure copper until the last century. After aluminum and iron, copper is the most used metal by big industries and three-fourths of it goes into building electrical wires.

Copper is a valuable metal found in your household plumbing, statues or living room decor, appliances, kitchen sinks, pots old roof accents, and electronic wiring.

The most interesting reason copper is a utilized metal of industries is for its renewable properties. Copper is a metal that is 100 percent recyclable. That means, there is essentially no loss of metal during the recycling process.

Copper recycling process helps reduce carbon emissions, dust and waste gases, including other drastic disadvantages caused by mining natural copper ores. Mining fresh copper is a dangerous activity. Therefore recycling this renewable natural source makes a lot more sense than mining, milling, smelting and refining raw copper that otherwise harm the environment.

Recycling is also a more affordable way to extract copper. The energy conserved by recycling is of great value, besides conservation of the natural resources such as land, water, air is always encouraged. Did you know? Until today, only 12 percent of copper has been mined. This is great news because we want to sustain the copper ores and use the available copper metal as a limited resource.


Looking for gold to scrap definitely makes recycling fun and profitable at the same time. Gold is not only found in a jewelry box but check old smoke detectors, old VCRs, and cell phones. Heat insulators in cars, embroidery done on clothing with gold thread, and photographic toners are just some of the top places at home where you can find gold.


Don’t be surprised if we tell you that unused patio furniture or your garden furniture is most likely made of iron. Even appliances such as iron pans, lawn mowers, swings in your backyard, and iron railings are acceptable as scrap metal.


Lead is a metal that requires so much energy to mine that lead recycling is a preferred method to acquire the metal. It is a highly toxic metal so be sure to protect yourself and your surroundings.  


Other than Canadian coins, you can find the nickel in rechargeable batteries, microphone capsules, and electric guitar strings.


Silver is considered a precious metal and can earn good money. You can get coin rolls from the bank and look for coins minted before 1964; these have over 90% silver content. You can also find this precious metal on jewelry, tableware, and utensils too.


Stainless steel is one of the biggest metals used for manufacturing and is stable when it comes to pricing, always between $0.30-0.75/lb. If you were renovating your kitchen, scrap your stainless appliances, sinks, trays, and appliances made of steel. Just make sure your material is not magnetic or you may get a lower price for it.

High Temp Alloys

In general, high temperature alloys, or superalloys / hi temp alloys, are metals intended to sustain their strength well above room temperatures and function between 500°F and 2200°F. High temp alloys offer surface stability, environmental endurance, and resistance to oxidation. They use hi temp alloys for example in manufacturing boiler drums, tubing for water boilers, pumps and pressure vessels, collectors, aircraft engines and high-temperature turbines.

Of all the high temperature alloys, tungsten holds the highest melting point at 3,410° Centigrade. This equates to 6,170° Fahrenheit. Rhenium alloys with tungsten improves its high temperature strength and corrosion resistance. When electric arcs are needed, thorium is used as an alloying compound.

Some common high temperature alloys include these:

  • Carbide: Carbide is in popular demand these days and that means you can get a good price for it. If you have many tools, you will find carbide in tool bits or drill bits. They are heavy and grayish in color.
  • Cobalt: Your batteries have cobalt in them! So do alloyed scraps like turnings, filter cakes, and leach residue. Cobalt is one of the most useful types of scrap metal and the demand for it is steadily increasing every day.
  • Titanium: Titanium is used in manufacturing just about everything from jewelry to airplanes and that’s why this metal is so valuable. It can get you a good price at the scrap yard.
  • Tungsten: There are many places at home where you can find tungsten for example, razor blades, jewelry, and ballpoint pens, just to name a few.

And then there are some less common ones, which you'll probably have a harder time finding. These are the following and if have them, then you may have to look hard for a scrap yard to take them. Most scrap yards don't take these or not at a decent price.

  • Inconel
  • Waspaloy
  • Tantalum
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel Alloys
  • Hafnium
  • Indium
  • Niobium
  • Aircraft Parts

If you are in need of some extra money then selling common scrap metal around your home is the surest and quickest way to make some. All the above metals can actually be recycled and sold for profit. You come across these metals in your everyday life yet they are often tossed into garbage as unwanted and non-usable waste. If any items you are going to discard is made of metal then take a pause and consider recycling them instead. You will be surprised yourself to find that over a period of time, you have accumulated enough unwanted metal that can be recycled for quick cash!

Let's see if we can help you identify the best places and common household items which can be scrapped to generate easy revenue.

Common Household Places to Look for Scrap Metal


The kitchen is a great place to find metals that can be sold for cash or just recycled. Consider recycling the old iron or copper pans for metal scrap. Common kitchen appliances such as refrigerators and microwaves have copper wires. Stainless steel silverware, aluminum foil and even your unused kitchen stove can be recycled. And if you habitually drink soda then you can collect soda cans made of aluminum and sell them as scrap metal as well.

Living Room and Bedroom

Your unused television set, entry doors, lamp bases, air-conditioners, and frames or gutters made from aluminum can be recycled.

Bathroom and Laundry

Any electronic devices such as washers or dryers are a good source for scrap metal. Fixtures in your bathroom may have copper wiring and pipes for plumbing may be made of copper as well. Copper is a guaranteed money-maker. Metal shelves can also be recycled.


If unused, iron patio furniture can be used as scrap metal; lawn mowers, metal swings, and even iron railing can be taken to your local junkyard and sold as scrap.


It’s time you took some time out and sorted through all the stored up things in your attic. Look for furniture made of metal – chairs, tables, lamps, shelves, appliances and even Christmas ornaments that you no longer use as each of those items can be sold as scrap.


Your rusty old power tools, paint cans nails, screws, bicycles, musical instruments discarded by your children and perhaps, your unused car is the biggest source for scrap metal. You will be able to make a profit by selling your car parts like batteries, radiator, compressor, rims and many others too.

Best Places to Find Insulated Copper Wire

One of the most profitable scrap metals is copper so that's why we're going to look at this one separately. Scrap copper comes in many different forms of which wire is probably the most pure and therefore the most sought after and high priced.

Copper mines are found amply, yet that is not the only reason it is broadly used for electronic wiring. Every home and building structure includes copper in their earthing systems. This is a life-saving system that protects structures from lightning strikes.

The metal’s physical and chemical properties such as conducting electricity make it ideal to use in electronic devices. Any average person needs approximately 1500 pounds of copper in all their devices put together such as computers, phones, vehicles.

Did you know your unused car can produce up to 50 pounds of copper? Or that the pipes in your home average approximately 400 pounds of copper? Cooper doorknob, handrails and finger plates are not just for aesthetic value. Copper has an antibacterial nature and is used extensively in public building as a preventive measure against bacteria.

You can either remove the insulation from the wires – if you know how to do it the right way – and sell the inner copper wires; or you can sell the insulated copper as it is, for a very good price!

Televisions and Monitors

Although the TV set can be difficult to recycle as a whole, you can always find copper wires that are attached at the base of the TV monitor. Monitors can be further dismantled to find capacitors, circuit boards and others.

Inside your Electronics 

When you open up some unwanted electronic appliances such as laptops, DVD players and others, there will be thin copper wires everywhere. Cut them up using scissors or pliers and stock them in the same pile of other copper wires accumulated thus far.


There are many copper wires inside your desktop PCs; after you’ve taken the hard drive and boards apart, you can also look for the copper wires inside. Besides that, the motherboard can also fetch you a really good amount in the market.

Big Appliances

Even though big appliances such as washing machines, air condition units, dishwashers, freezers and others are a great source of steel, they inherently have large and bulky copper wires inside them in the back. If you are getting rid of them, make sure to remove the copper wires for a separate payout.

Small Appliances 

All electronic items have copper wires in them, and that holds true for small appliances such as blenders, coffee makers and others. Check both the inside and the outside of these appliances for copper wires.

Other Electronics

Items that require frequent charging are good sources of copper wires. Items such as mobile cell phones, cameras, small gaming devices, and other. If you find that these items are piled in a basket unused because the family has upgraded scrap them all.

Overall, even though you would make a lot of money from common scrap metal found around your home, remember that you are contributing to the welfare of your community and environment as well. Earning some extra money is just a bonus.