There are a number of common items around your house, or in a junkyard that could earn you money if you are enterprising, and willing to put in the work. Most of these items can be sold to scrap metal buyers, who specialize in re-selling these items to wholesale dealers. If you're thinking about entering the scrap metal business for profit, here are some of the important things to know about how scrap metal is defined, and what scrap metal buyers are looking to buy from you.


Before diving into the items you can sell to scrap metal buyers, it's instructive to explain the difference between the two main categories of metals that you can sell:  non-ferrous and ferrous. The word 'ferrous' refers to whether the metal contains iron, and most scrap metal buyers are looking for non-ferrous metal, because it is easier for them to re-sell, easier to reshape for other uses and less dense than metal that contains iron.

Common examples of non-ferrous metals are brass, copper, lead, nickel, tin and aluminum. Non-ferrous metals can often be find around your home, especially in old electronic devices such as computers, radios and appliances. And because they don't have iron, non-ferrous metals are much less resistant to rust, which means that they require less cleaning and polishing than ferrous metals.

Ferrous metals contain iron and typically come in large sizes that are used in construction bridges and commercial buildings. Common examples of ferrous metals are carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron and wrought iron. Ferrous metals are very heavy and prone to rust and corrosion because of the carbon that is used in the manufacturing process. Ferrous metals are also highly magnetized, which makes them useful when used to build items such as motors. Ferrous scrap metal doesn't command as much money as non-ferrous metal, because ferrous scrap metal is plentiful and much easier to acquire than non-ferrous scrap metal. In general, you won't have access to ferrous scrap metal, so stick to non-ferrous to maximize your profitability.


Motor Vehicle Parts -- If you have an old car that no longer runs or is not road-worthy, or you have access to a junkyard, you could find a treasure trove of metal to sell to scrap metal buyers. Old cars are sought after because they contain valuable scrap metal such as copper and aluminum. The electrical system of a car, which includes the starter, alternator and batteries are filled with copper, as are the electrical wiring that connects these components. Old vehicles also feature quite a bit of aluminum, another valuable scrap metal that you can sell. Items that contain aluminum are quarter panels, bumpers, rims, engine blocks and radiators.

Electronics -- Your household electronic items can be sold as scrap metal as well. For example, hard drives contain a lot of aluminum and are a good item to sell, laptops contain motherboards and CPUs that are made from aluminum and copper, keyboards have copper wiring that will fetch some money and PC towers have motherboards, power supplies and hard drives that contain copper and aluminum that is can be sold.

For more information, check out companies such as West Coast Metals.