Most Valuable Scrap Metals: Best Things to Scrap For Money

March 5, 2021

Valuable scrap metals in a pile with text that says "Most Valuable Scrap Metals: Best Things to Scrap For Money"People throw money out with the trash every time they bring their garbage to the curbside. While most people won’t throw away dollars and coins on purpose, they will throw away other valuable materials without knowing it. You miss out on more money in your pocket every time you discard certain scrap metals.

Some precious metals may even find their way into your garbage without you realizing it. If you’re wondering what metals are recyclable for money, then you’ve come to the right place. Learn about valuable scrap metals below so you can stop throwing away money.

Most Valuable Scrap Metals

Compacted scrap metal with a list of most valuable scrap metalsSome of the most valuable metals you can scrap are ones you throw right into your kitchen garbage or job site dumpster. Many of these metals are recyclable, which means companies will pay top dollar to buy them from you instead of going through more expensive channels. You could be putting this metal aside to scrap later and make a decent amount of cash in the process. The following scrap metals are worth the most money, so keep a watch for them in your daily life.


Copper plates the pennies in your pocket, but don’t let its use in these coins trick you into thinking it lacks value. Copper is one of the most expensive scrap metals available.

With this in mind, you should make an effort to protect your copper appliances and scrap any copper you have lying around. Broken electrical wires, electronic equipment and old copper pipes leftover from a plumbing upgrade are some of the best things to scrap for copper. Bring it all to the scrap yard for cash on the spot.


Another one of the highest paying scrap metals is brass. Companies value brass for its strength and longevity — many antiques contain the material and can fetch a high value during resale. Like copper, brass appears in everyday items, including faucets, pipe joints and other plumbing-related appliances. One major difference between copper and brass is that brass has a more yellowish color reminiscent of gold.

Brass consists of both copper and zinc. Zinc does not fetch a high resale value at the scrap yard, so the copper content gives brass its value. Items with a redder hue contain higher levels of copper, and ones with a yellow shade have higher levels of zinc. Metal specialists will identify zinc and copper alloys with the highest copper content as bronze, which is a more valuable version of brass.


Many people are familiar with soft drink cans as being a common source of aluminum. People collect these cans and bring them to scrap yards all the time as a source of extra cash. A single empty can of soda may not be worth much by itself. But it’s the ease of gathering and scrapping large amounts of aluminum at a time that gives it a high scrap metal value.

Scrap yards understand the market’s desire to recycle used aluminum, so they’ll pay a good price for the aluminum you bring. And it’s good for the environment, too. It takes much more energy to create aluminum products than it does to melt them down and recycle them for future use. The demand for aluminum is high, so it’s a scrap metal worth good money.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is common around the world, but it is worth money as a scrap metal due to other metals present within the alloy. Many stainless steel products contain other valuable metals such as chromium, iron and nickel. Different stainless steel items will be worth more money depending on the content of these other materials.

You can find stainless steel in kitchen utensils, car parts and heavy machinery used in warehouses and factories. Due to its use in these applications, people often bring stainless steel covered in oil and grease to scrap yards for resale. Those states might fetch a lower price than if they had cleaned the materials beforehand. If you have stainless steel to scrap, make sure it’s clean so you can receive the highest price possible.


Lead is one of the most expensive metals and can bring you a great price at the scrap yard. But you may find it difficult to acquire a pure source of lead in your everyday life. Companies have decreased their use of lead over the years due to its toxic nature. Today, you may only find trace amounts of it in certain products.

If you do have access to a large amount of lead, it could be very profitable. Make sure to take the proper safety precautions when handling lead to protect yourself and your surroundings. Lead is also difficult to transport because of its weight. You’ll need to take care if you’re scrapping lead, but if you have the means, it could give you a good monetary return on your efforts.

Most Valuable Precious Metals

Scrap metal with text that says "Most valuable precious metals"You may not associate precious metals with scrap metals, but the two categories have something in common — they can both get you a good price at the scrap yard. When you need cash on the spot, precious metals are some of the most persuasive items you can offer to get a high price. Here are some of the most expensive metals in the world:

  • Rhodium: Rhodium may be the most valuable metal on this list. People use this rare, silver-colored material for its reflective nature. With a high melting point and an impressive resistance to corrosion, companies find uses for it in objects like searchlights, jewelry and mirrors. Some automotive companies find it useful in various vehicle components.
  • Platinum: Many people have heard about platinum thanks to its beauty and association with high honors and awards. But it also finds much of its value in its density, malleability and corrosion resistance. One of its top uses is in the jewelry industry due to its shine and resistance to wear. Dentists, weapon builders and flight engineers also find ways to use platinum.
  • Gold: Everyone is familiar with gold. It’s one of the most desirable precious metals in the world and remains a popular investment option since it can retain its value despite stock market fluctuations. Many people know gold as a prominent aspect of jewelry. But it’s also conductive, making it a necessary part of electronic equipment. Dentists also use it to form dental crowns thanks to its malleability.
  • Ruthenium: Ruthenium is a member of the platinum metals. It contains many of platinum’s characteristics, including its hardness and its resistance to wear. Companies may add ruthenium to palladium or platinum to increase their hardness. Producers of electronics also use ruthenium to create plates for electric contacts.
  • Iridium: As another member of the platinum family, iridium is a white-colored metal with a high melting point. It is extremely dense and resistant to corrosion, and it comes from South Africa as a byproduct of nickel mining. Some of the main industries that use iridium include medicine, automobiles and electronics. You may also find iridium components in watches, pens and compasses.
  • Osmium: This blue-silver metal is one of the densest known to humankind. Scientists know it for its high melting point and brittle, hard consistency. Electrical companies use it for filaments and contacts, among other uses.
  • Palladium: Palladium is rare, malleable and stable, even under the hottest of conditions. Its most common use is in the automobile industry, as manufacturers use it to reduce emissions in catalytic converters. It’s also useful for making white gold alloys in the jewelry industry. Besides that, electronics manufacturers find a use for palladium by plating various electrical components.
  • Silver: Like gold and platinum, silver is a precious metal that many people recognize by name and appearance. Silver finds uses in coins, photography, dentistry and electronics. And, of course, silver is popular for jewelry. It’s also a solid investment material and can gain value over time.

Best Scrap Metal to Collect

You may not have an endless source of precious metals to bring to the scrap yard. But there’s a good chance you have plenty of other ones worth scrapping lying around your house, property or job site. Here are some of the best scrap metals to collect and bring to the scrap yard for extra income.

1. Aluminum

Many people consider aluminum to be the best metal to scrap because of the sheer amount available. People throw out their beverage cans all the time. You could ask several of your friends and family members for their empty cans, and you may end up with an amount that could fetch you a large sum at the scrap yard.

Aluminum is also common in some of your old household items. These include old electronic devices, automobile parts and even some bike frames. Aluminum is light and durable, making it a popular material across industries. There’s a high chance you have a large amount of it available to you. Start setting aside your discarded aluminum and scrap it for cash.

2. Brass

Brass is more common in your everyday life than you might think. Items that look like they’re made of a fake gold-type metal could actually contain brass. If these items are sitting around your property — or if you’re thinking of throwing them away — take them to the scrap yard instead.

Turn your spring cleaning session into extra cash by scrapping your brass items. Possible items include candlestick stands, old trophies and plates. You can also find brass in your plumbing and electrical systems in the form of brass fittings, which come in all shapes and sizes. Door handles and knockers and old bed frames are also top candidates for brass items that you may be looking to get rid of.

3. Copper

Copper is one of the most valuable metals to scrap, but it’s also one of the most common. Companies are always searching for more copper to use in many of the most common household and business appliances. It’s easy to accumulate a good reserve of scrap copper, especially if you specialize in taking scrap metal off individuals and companies who don’t want to deal with it themselves.

Scrap yards are eager to take your copper in exchange for cash. Plumbing upgrades, electrical work, new construction and renovations can yield a lot of leftover copper. Make an effort to gather all the copper you can and enjoy a good sum of money in return at the scrap yard.

Where to Find Valuable Scrap Metal

A pile of copper scrap metal with text that says "Where to find valuable scrap metal"Want to get your hands on scrap that’s worth the most? Here are some of the top places to find scrap metal, which you can turn into cash:

  • Local businesses: Perhaps you or someone you know owns a business. Local businesses of all specialties and sizes can be treasure-troves for scrap metal. Repair shops, automotive garages, retail outlets and industrial areas could be ripe with valuable metals that the businesses have discarded.
  • Construction and renovation sites: If you work in construction or renovation, consider the possibility for scrap metal at your sites. Construction and renovation projects create beautiful new buildings, but they also put out a lot of scrap. Steel building job sites can create a lot, in particular, but any building connected to the electrical grid will yield plenty of copper scraps from unused wires and cables.
  • Shooting ranges: Dozens of brass shells can litter the ground of shooting ranges. Shooting ranges are a prime source of free brass, so see about picking up empty shells at your local shooting range if the location doesn’t already scrap their own metal.
  • Online markets: You can make a post on sites like Facebook or Craigslist saying you’re interested in picking up people’s scrap metal. The number of people looking for someone to pick up their scrap so they don’t have to deal with it may surprise you. Or, you can look for other people’s posts asking for someone to pick up their scrap for free. You may have to drive a distance to get the metal, but it may be worth your while.

Remember to always ask business owners and property managers for permission before rummaging through their scrap. They may be happy to let you take their ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal off their hands, but they may be less glad to find you there without speaking to them first.

Liberty Iron & Metal Is Your Trusted Scrap Yard

If you want to sell your scrap metal for cash on the spot, you need to visit Liberty Iron & Metal for trusted scrap yard services. Whether you’re coming in with smaller individual orders or the largest industrial scrap drop-offs, we’re ready to process your scrap metal and give you the best price available.

We have several locations spanning from the Northeastern United States to the Southwest and even into northern Mexico. At each of our locations, you’ll experience excellent customer service from industry professionals who can identify the best value for your metals based on the current market trends. Contact us today for more information about our services.A crane picking up scrap metal from a large pile

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