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  #1  
Old 04/24/10, 09:10 AM
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Knoxville, Tn
Posts: 95
Opinion on scrap metal sales

We save cans and the price right now is .65 a pound. When we went to the scrap yard the place was packed with truck loads of metal. Has anyone tried this ? Have you made money doing it?

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  #2  
Old 04/24/10, 11:47 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Illinois
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I've made a very good and independent living salvaging scrap metals.
I wrote a few articles about my experience and accumulated information concerning this topic. Angie listed them in a sticky over on the survival forum if you're interested. They're listed with the compost composite sticky.

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Last edited by Forerunner; 04/24/10 at 11:50 AM.
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  #3  
Old 04/24/10, 06:12 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: So/West Missouri
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If you can find scrap metal you can make some money, the best way is to seperate the metals, strip the copper from old appliances. Talk to the metal buyer he will tell you the way to get best prices.
Glenn

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  #4  
Old 04/24/10, 09:04 PM
VA Susan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Virginia
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A man in our area offers cash for junk cars. I'm sure he makes a good profit on them when he resells them for the metal. Most people are glad to get them out of their way and happy make a few dollars in the bargain.

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  #5  
Old 04/25/10, 06:47 AM
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Knoxville, Tn
Posts: 95
Thanks for the replies

Forerunner I read your stickies great information. We are looking into maybe trying it out. We have stuff that was left on our property that we can haul off.We are also going to get the opportunity to clean out an old house that will be torn down. There are car parts in the yard and lots of stuff left inside. We are not sure what all we will be able to salvage yet but it could be very lucrative for us.

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  #6  
Old 04/25/10, 08:29 AM
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Location: Illinois
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Metal is generally an inflation proof account.
There has been and seems to now be a rather dependable fluctuation in the markets that allows for the wise to prepare and stockpile metals and sell high when the time comes.
This seems to be true across the board, though non-ferrous metals have been up for some time now.

Be one of those folks who calls around for best price, indicating at each opportunity that you are a serious recycler who deals in quality material.
The folks who just throw the whole mess in the back of a pickup and drive to the nearest yard regularly settle for one third of the material's value.

On the homestead, time and labor are frequently cheap enough. Prepare your metals to the most refined degree that you can, safely and without drawing too much attention.
The bulk of the value in scrap metal is in the labor that we apply in preparing it to industry specs.

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  #7  
Old 04/28/10, 10:10 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 103

Steel just went up from $5/100lbs to about $8.50 in my area. Aluminum etc. will probably go up as well.

I recommend http://realcent.forumco.com in the Scrap section of the forum - lots of serious scrappers there.

BEST piece of advice for those starting out:

1. Buy some decent quality gloves, you can get decent leather ones that will protect your hands for $5 or $10 a pair. Make it a habit to have them handy and wear them whenever you are handling items, even if you don't think you need it. Safety first, you don't want to cut up your hands or scrape your knuckles.

2. If you don't understand it, don't sell it until you do. The RealCent forum is a good place to learn more about how to identify what there is.

3. Call around for best prices, don't be shy.

(I don't deal with steel/aluminum, I only buy PC motherboards and CPUs and other gold e-scrap).

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  #8  
Old 04/28/10, 10:28 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPG View Post
I only buy PC motherboards and CPUs and other gold e-scrap.
I'd like to learn about e-scrap.

Is it profitable?
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  #9  
Old 04/28/10, 10:47 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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I've made great money from time to time by scrapping.

I flea market on the side, and go to a bunch of auctions. Before the big spike in metals prices a little while back, I could score lots of super easy scrap.

For instance, I bought lots of boxes of pistons for $2 for the lot. They scrapped out at $8 a box.

Finding good, easy scrap, high profit scrap is more difficult these days due to competition. The closest place to sell steel is 30 miles away, so I've never messed with steel or iron. Good scrap is still out there to be had.

Of course, I've only dabbled in scrap as a bonus at auctions and the like.

Also, when you are scrapping remember that scrap is not always scrap. Sometimes, it is worth much more as an item than it is as metal. For instance, I bought a steel lawn chair from a scrapper for $1. I set it in my flea market booth, and it sold for $10 on the first day. An antique shop owner bought it, and sold it two days later for $38.

Another time, I bought a bucket of junk steel from another scrapper at an auction. I paid him $2 for it. I sold the galvanized bucket for $4, and a tool inside the bucket inside the bucket brought $116. (I was disappointed that it didn't bring more.)

BTW, make sure you read Forerunners scrap guide mentioned above. It is very good.

Just make sure you can identify valuable items as well as you can identify the scrap.

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  #10  
Old 04/29/10, 10:15 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,752

One other thing about knowing what you are selling. As I was removing the trash pit at my place I hauled in some 4" steel pipes with a load of steel one time. When I got to the scrap yard the person weighing came out with waht turned out to be a geiger counter. The pipe was apparently old pipe from oil drilling rigs, and supposedly went through some radioactive ground. The person at the yard immediatly ordered me off the property and wouldn't take any of the load. I finally found another yard that ended up unlaoding me, and putting the pipe back on the trailer for me bring home. With all the gas I spent driving to simply getting it sold/unloaded I lost big time on that load.

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  #11  
Old 04/29/10, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Illinois
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I've been across scrap yard scales hundreds of times and never once have I been singled out for such an experience nor have I ever witnessed it happen to someone else.

Not saying it can't happen...... the scrap business is not without it's quirks and secrets, but I've never seen it.
Every yard I have ever dealt with had the radiation equipment in place. I honestly believe it to be left over from WWII and the cold war. It keeps people aware, and afraid..... two pillars necessary to hold up the canopy of domination.

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  #12  
Old 04/29/10, 04:41 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 2,685

My sons have always scrapped a little for extra cash. We have a pile on the farm and they just have to clean, sort and load it for the money.

They, too, ran into the check for radioactivity at a local yard.

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  #13  
Old 04/29/10, 11:05 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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I went to an auction today. My primary purpose for attending the auction was to buy business equipment from a foreclosed business, and resell it for a profit.

I was able to buy stuff for resale, but I also scored some scrap while I was there.

Professional scrappers like forerunner would laugh at my small haul of scrap today. Then again, $4 worth of scrap here, and $8 there, add up very fast. The best part is that I got this scrap for free!!!!

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  #14  
Old 04/30/10, 09:54 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 833

make sure if you scrap cars dont take the whole cars in there around here they offer like $50 more a ton if it is a whole car (as in alumnium wheels, battery, converter, pretty much has to be a whole car blown motor or tranny or wrecked dont matter as long as it has all that extra stuff) dont do that cause you can sell the battery, converter, radiator, starter, alt, rims, and then what ever you can sell online is more money people buy parts all over

and if you can or want to take all the wiring out of the cars and burn them and just keep putting them in to a bucket and when its full take that in copper wire is like $2.10 a pound and it adds up fast

2 years ago i was buying ford probes and mazda mx6 cars for free to $500 selling the converters for $250 each rims for $150 then if motors or trannys were good they were $500 each along with any other parts that would sell online

now the price of converters dropped and people think there still worth gold and i cant touch any car around me for under $600 and thats a junk non running car and scrap is $230 a ton or add $50 more a ton if its a whole car or truck

but if you have the space get as much as you can cheap and strip them and part them and scrap whats left

and dont mess with no titled stuff trust me more work and most times there stolen and i dont mess with that other people do just dont feel like sitting in jail for how ever long to make $100 or so

and auctions are the place to go i go all over to auctions after auctions and pick stuff up dirt cheap and resell online or scrap i got over 1000 egg cartons for $1 there was like 8 big boxes full of them i was selling 100 for $10

another time i got a trailer for $10 sold it the same day for $400

but there are alot of people out there that make good money scrapping i buy dodge trucks and part them out 1994-2001 and if i find a cheap 2002 and up ill buy them and part them and then i scrap whats left over

but when i can make $1500-4000 on dodge trucks that i get for cheap its a good deal and worth alot more than scrap price

and in the winter get in to snow plows if you get them in the summer hold them till winter if you got the space and same thing with spring stuff if you get them in the winter like lawn mowers and stuff hold them dont scrap them cause i part out lawn mowers also or fix and sell but ill see any where from $300-2000 off a lawn mower just in parts the newer the better but an old simplicity brought me $2000 in parts one year

off my scrapping and parting i have so much crap laying around that i keep its not even funny i got a curtis snow plow thats like brand new with a dodge truck that had a blown tranny i traded a blown up 400ex (that i got for $200) for a 2001 yz125 that was mint and i traded that bike for the truck and the plow only made $1800 off the truck cause the body was shot and the parts were kinda rusty but i still have the axles and air bags and dash that should bring another $1200 on a good day cause there 2500 dana 60 axles that are like $1200 each at the junk yards so one day they will sell and i keep the curtis plow and if i sold it i can get $3000 out of it or put it on a dodge truck and make about $7000 on the truck and plow before winter

i can go on and on about the deals i have got by scrapping but ill stop now the only thing about it is now every one thinks there junk is worth gold and there are so many people around me doing it that it just kinda sucks now

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  #15  
Old 05/01/10, 11:17 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by clovis View Post
I'd like to learn about e-scrap.

Is it profitable?
It has the potential to be reasonably profitable. The key is to find a good source, in some cases people will give away old systems just to get them out of the office or the house.

Since the value is always greater than free, it is just a question of whether you want to take the system apart for the pieces.

It will take about 6 minutes at least, to fully dismantle a typical machine. This means 10 per hour, so that is a bottleneck or limiting factor.
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  #16  
Old 05/02/10, 07:26 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clovis View Post

Professional scrappers like forerunner would laugh at my small haul of scrap today.
Laugh ?

I don't know. I'm the one who picks the brass valve stems and lead wheel weights out of the garbage at the truck repair shop where I do business.......
I can't walk a mile up the road without filling every carrying capacity on my person with aluminum cans. I'd say I'm as laughable as anyone.
Humility has gotten me farther down the road of successful scrapping than anything.
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  #17  
Old 05/02/10, 07:48 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 7,905

Scrap metal is about $6/100 lbs, having just come off a high of $10/100 lbs!!! They had to get cops to direct traffic, it was so busy. DH made almost $200 in just a couple of hours, not counting wait time in line. Some guys were making close to $1000/day.

We've never seen prices that high.

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  #18  
Old 05/02/10, 08:03 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 833

ya it was up here too now every thing dropped back down scrap is back at $150 a ton or $160 for whole cars with alumnium wheels so ya its going back down

but i made close to $1200 just in 1 day 4 loads like no wait time and not i just have 2 trucks that need the axles cut out from under them and gas tank knocked out and there ready to go when the price goes up

shoot in the winter i was stacking cars i had so many i was waiting for the price to go up and didnt want them all around the house making it look like trash so i put them behind our huge barn and started stacking them it paid off cause once it started getting nicer i was scrapping them like all the time and i get about $25-35 more a ton depending on the day than most other people that just drive in there

now every one thinks there stuff is gold and want gold price when really they have junk

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  #19  
Old 05/03/10, 07:50 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,165

steel was 260 a ton here not but a few weeks ago.

but yup droped pretty good.

you need to also be carefull who you deal with too. someplaces are just ripoffs.

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  #20  
Old 05/03/10, 08:57 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 8,566

I sold my non-ferrous scrap I scored at two auctions I attended last week.

Total expenditure for the scrap I bought: $2

Total income for the scrap I sold today: $24.05

Net profit: $22.05

Not very much money, most would say. I was already at those auctions buying other stuff, so the scrap is icing on the cake to me.

I just wish I could get that much quality scrap every day, especially considering how easy it was/is to obtain.

One thing that I should note: I can't generally compete with the pro scrappers at auctions when big lots are being sold. I score small stuff here and there...and generally small stuff that no one else even sees.

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  #21  
Old 05/04/10, 08:09 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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ya thats how i am i got to lots of different auctions and i look at stuff and just watch what there selling i almost had a old ford truck for $50 but the auctioner had to stop and say no one else wants to big on this old truck little bit of work and you could have a good wood hauler that thing was a 86 f-350 rusted out plow on it which was junk motor knocked tranny fluid smelled and frame was broke that thing went over $1500 and i had it up to 400

but i won cattle trailer one time for $100 sold it for $1000 with in the week

so if you know what your doing some of your "scrap" piles could be worth more money than you think some stuff that i thought was junk i sold for good money like a old steel wagon wheel sold it for $50 and it was in a $10 scrap pile and i still got money for the rest of the scrap

but ya right now as of yesterday scrap where i take it is $170 a ton im still getting $200 a ton

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  #22  
Old 05/04/10, 12:59 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 8,566

It is funny you mention the cattle trailer.

My uncle once had an old school horse trailer, and it was so rough he thought about letting it go for scrap. A guy stopped by, asked if it were for sale, and then said, "I'd give $500 for it, but I couldn't go a dime over that."

At the time, scrap was at an all time low, so, in essence, my uncle made $500 free and clear on something that was nearly trash. I've laughed quite a few times about that story.

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  #23  
Old 05/04/10, 02:29 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Virginia
Posts: 308

A neighbor of ours sells scrap metal. He will always stop and ask people if they are getting rid of old appliances that are sitting out by their dumpsters. He's taken a refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher from us. My husband loves it because then he doesn't have to worry about getting it to the dump!

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  #24  
Old 05/04/10, 03:19 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 500

Two summers ago when I had a truck I would ride a different way to work one or two days a week coinciding with the local garbage collection schedule. I mostly picked up metal to sell.

I made $800 selling mostly scrap steel, aluminim, some copper, brass and lead batteries. Frankly if it looked difficult to handle or disassemble I didn't bother with it.

I picked a angle iron workbench with plywood top and sold it for $75 on craigslist.

I picked two wood mantles and sold them on craigslist for $225 plus got paid $25 to deliver one of them

I made $20 dollars selling a shoebox of silverplate flatware at an antiquestore

I found and donated a few bicycles to a local bike rebuilding charity

In the process I put a few scratches and minor dents in the truck but it wasn't a new truck and I'm not one to worry about that too much

It's sort of amazing how much usable stuff people throw out in the trash

A little bit of a downside is that I built up stock of various items in the driveway until I got a truckload worth to make it worth hauling into the scrapyard. The wife wasn't too fond of that.

At one scrapyard the folks treated you kind of rough since they were used to dealing with bigger operators. I found a smaller place that had friendlier staff and tended to treat me better by not marking my stuff down as lower grade material. Since it was "free" money I usually gave a tip to the scaleman who handled the smaller scale for weighing the aluminum, copper and more valuable metals. Not sure of it but i suspect that may have helped me a little bit too.

Best of luck

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  #25  
Old 05/04/10, 05:48 PM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southwest Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forerunner View Post
I've been across scrap yard scales hundreds of times and never once have I been singled out for such an experience nor have I ever witnessed it happen to someone else.

Not saying it can't happen...... the scrap business is not without it's quirks and secrets, but I've never seen it.
Every yard I have ever dealt with had the radiation equipment in place. I honestly believe it to be left over from WWII and the cold war. It keeps people aware, and afraid..... two pillars necessary to hold up the canopy of domination.
Forerunner, I didn't understand your response about radiation detection at scrapyards. I guess you have had some bad experiences with the businesses where you have sold scrap. I am sorry to hear it.

I work for a pretty reputable scrap company with 60+ facilities across the country (though none near you). We would love to buy every pound of scrap that someone hauls in. But having said that, we invest a lot of money in state-of-the-art radiation detectors and frequently turn away scrap that sets them off. Sometimes that loses us a supplier. But we don't maintain that equipment or reject loads to make suppliers fear us, or as a technique to dominate them. The fact is that big companies like ours deal with steel mills and foundries, either domestically or via the export market, who monitor and reject any radioactive loads we send them. If we somehow don't detect radiation coming into one of our yards, and if a mill or foundry misses it too and melts that scrap, the cost for decontaminating their equipment can run over $10 million - which they would insist that we pay. And nowadays scrap suppliers are vetted by mills and foundries up front. If we did not maintain effective controls for incoming scrap, they would refuse to buy our "risky" material at all. That would put us out of business.

I find it interesting that you still see "cold-war" detectors in service and wonder what you mean. The standard for scanning inbound truck or rail traffic for at least 20 years has been flat panel monitors. These contain a sheet of plastic into which is inserted a photomultiplier tube which counts the visible flashes in the plastic caused by the passage of radioactive particles. You will see these mounted in pairs on either side of the truck scale (and sometimes overhead as well), contained in big rectangular metal boxes. The thing is that the part you see (the detector boxes) have not changed over my career of 16 years. You can't tell if a system is modern or antiquated by looking at them. All the advances have been made in the controller, which sits in the scale house receiving the signal from the detector panels, and in the algorithm which the controller uses to figure out what the data means.

Before maybe 20 years ago, most scrapyards used sodium iodide crystal detectors which are contained in cylinders maybe the size of a standard aerosol can. These detectors resembled microphones hanging in the air pointed at the scale. We still use this style of detector in some of our handheld detectors and at some nonferrous scales, but if you see one at a truck scale it is fair to say that the operator is way behind the curve and not efficiently scanning for radiation.
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  #26  
Old 05/04/10, 05:58 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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o ya we use to do that and dumpster dive (before they went to the compacting dumpster) but we use to make like $600-2500 a month on stuff found in the trash just on ebay, craigslist, yard sales, swap meets, it was crazy made very good money doing that but when every thing hit the fan people stopped throwing stuff out as much and stores got the compactors so cant even get stuff out of there

but shoot walmart would throw away those like $300 big power wheel trucks cause it had a broken hood or cracked or tire wasnt right and they would throw it in the dumpster

food stores would throw away all kinds of food that went to some of the animals like chickens and pigs but only in the winter summer time it got nasty smelling

good will had like 2 dumpsters full every other day and we got so much stuff from there we made almost $3000 in one weekend at a city wide yard sale and we had every thing from gas grills to brand new packs of pens we had to rent tables and run them down the whole drive there was so much stuff and all the pens and note books were brand new never opened and 3 ring binders we got all that stuff from cvs when they changed some thing small like the front cover color and they would throw it away

we use to have a route we would go every night to see what was new in the dumpster people made fun of us for doing that but seen the money we were bringing in and shut there mouth cause it was very little work and all free so after the gas used it was pure profit

o we also found like 8 bags of kids cloths in good wills dumpster washed them all and sold each thing for $.10 and it was all gone the first day from word of mouth when we had the huge garage sale

im gonna write a book on how to make $5000 a month dealing with scrap and trash

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  #27  
Old 05/04/10, 10:40 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 8,566
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed K View Post
Two summers ago when I had a truck I would ride a different way to work one or two days a week coinciding with the local garbage collection schedule. I mostly picked up metal to sell.

I made $800 selling mostly scrap steel, aluminim, some copper, brass and lead batteries. Frankly if it looked difficult to handle or disassemble I didn't bother with it.

I picked a angle iron workbench with plywood top and sold it for $75 on craigslist.

I picked two wood mantles and sold them on craigslist for $225 plus got paid $25 to deliver one of them

I made $20 dollars selling a shoebox of silverplate flatware at an antiquestore

I found and donated a few bicycles to a local bike rebuilding charity

In the process I put a few scratches and minor dents in the truck but it wasn't a new truck and I'm not one to worry about that too much

It's sort of amazing how much usable stuff people throw out in the trash

A little bit of a downside is that I built up stock of various items in the driveway until I got a truckload worth to make it worth hauling into the scrapyard. The wife wasn't too fond of that.

At one scrapyard the folks treated you kind of rough since they were used to dealing with bigger operators. I found a smaller place that had friendlier staff and tended to treat me better by not marking my stuff down as lower grade material. Since it was "free" money I usually gave a tip to the scaleman who handled the smaller scale for weighing the aluminum, copper and more valuable metals. Not sure of it but i suspect that may have helped me a little bit too.

Best of luck
Ed,

I enjoyed reading your post. That is the way to do it if you can.

While I've never actively driven a trash route, it is Olympic sport around here. The faint hearted and lazy shouldn't even waste their time. On heavy trash day in our town last month, I personally witnessed 5 or 6 different people driving the trash route in front of our house. I was only outside during the morning...how many more did I miss?

Most of those guys and gals are looking for scrap. A few are looking for junk to resell.

FWIW, you can usually hear numerous trucks driving the trash route thru the night. It is common to see the same truck pass back thru every few hours to see if anything new has been brought to the curb.

It really is quite unbelievable.
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  #28  
Old 05/04/10, 10:49 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Originally Posted by Scott SW Ohio View Post
I work for a pretty reputable scrap company with 60+ facilities across the country (though none near you). We would love to buy every pound of scrap that someone hauls in. But having said that, we invest a lot of money in state-of-the-art radiation detectors and frequently turn away scrap that sets them off. Sometimes that loses us a supplier.
Okay, here is what I want to know:

Where does scrap with radioactive particles come from?

There is an old rural legend around here about a guy that was hauling scrap steel from a source to a buyer in Louisville, and had a load rejected due to radiation.

Supposedly, as the rural legend goes, the scrap buyer put out an ABP, and he couldn't sell it anywhere in the midwest. It is said that he buried the scrap in a deep pit on a farm.

I have no idea if the story is true, but the rumors ran rampant for many years.
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  #29  
Old 05/05/10, 04:21 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 9,118

Scott, that was the most comprehensive explanation that I've ever been given concerning the radiation issue.
I personally have not had bad experiences, and have never seen anyone singled out for a radiation issue. I didn't realize there was so much radiation out there to be contended with.

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  #30  
Old 05/05/10, 04:40 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Southwest Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clovis View Post
Okay, here is what I want to know:

Where does scrap with radioactive particles come from?
Radium is soluble in water and can collect over time as scale inside pipes or tanks. This is especially common with oilfield equipment. I'm fairly sure that's what the poster above was referring to. Pipe scale is an example of what is referred to as NORM (naturally occurring radioactive material). Firebrick contains NORM too and is notorious for setting off our detectors.

We most often see NORM, but we also see a wide range of devices or materials with refined radioactive materials which find their way into the scrap stream. Common ones are depleted uranium (used in projectiles or to balance airframes), radium "glow-in-the-dark" dial faces (beware especially of old military jeeps - they often had radium dials in the dashboards) and old industrial smoke detectors (they have a mildly radioactive gadget inside).

There are a fair number of "licensed sources" in industrial, scientific and medical use, and very occasionally these are lost or stolen and end up in scrap. These include cancer treatment devices and meters that measure density, flow or level in process applications. Licensed sources are super dangerous because they can contain large amounts of radioactive material. Also they are shielded, usually in lead, so our radiation detectors might not alarm and we might then process the scrap and release the radiation, with disastrous consequences. Hopefully if you run across one of these it will be obvious - there will be data plates and warning symbols identifying the device, and it will be unnaturally heavy because of the shielding. The good news is that our NRC does an effective job overall of controlling these sources and issuing alerts when one gets away, so the really bad radioactive accidents have happened in other countries and not here.
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