How to Sell Scrap Aluminum

by Jeremy Hillpot; Updated September 26, 2017
retired wheels

Just like gold and silver, less precious metals such as aluminum can be melted down, recycled, resold and repurposed. Aluminum recycling first became popular in the early 1900s, and it was especially commonplace during World War II. Aluminum does not oxidize or degrade over time and can be recycled and reused indefinitely. Finding and selling scrap aluminum can be a lucrative business.

Find and Weigh your Aluminum

Among the best places to find scrap aluminum are construction sites, the managers of many of which are happy for you to haul away excess aluminum trash for free. If you build relationships with local contractors, electricians and builders, some will even agree to call you when they have a sufficient amount of metal that is ready for removal. Wait until you have collected at least 50 pounds of scrap aluminum before you start approaching scrap metal dealers. According to the online scrap metal price index MetalPrices.com, during the period of February 2010 to February 2015, aluminum can prices in North America ranged from a low of approximately 66 cents per pound to a high of approximately $1 per pound, representing as much as $50 or as little as $33 for 50 pounds of cans.

Research Current Aluminum Prices

By researching the current price of aluminum, you can gain a bargaining edge when getting in touch with dealers. Aluminum prices fluctuate according to market influences . Furthermore, different kinds of aluminum will be more valuable than others, so categorize and research the specific kinds of aluminum you have collected. For example, aluminum wheels tend to fetch a higher price than aluminum cans for recycling purposes. Online indexes can vary as well, so check several sources and call several local dealers before finishing your research on prices.

Contact Local Scrap Metal Yards

Scrap metal yards buy aluminum and other metals from local collectors and then resell to bigger bulk-buying companies. Because the prices that scrap yards pay for aluminum change according to market fluctuations, ask what they are currently paying for the type of aluminum items you have collected. Also, ask whether they will pick up the aluminum or if you must drop it off. For drop-offs, scrap yards often require an appointment, so call in advance.

Research Customer Reviews

Online reviews can be helpful when trying to determine the trustworthiness of any company with which you are considering doing business. Regardless of the scrap metal dealer you choose, look it up on the Better Business Bureau website and on other customer review websites before selling your metal to the company.

Try Selling Your Aluminum on eBay

After doing your research on prices offered by local and online scrap dealers, you could try to sell your metal for a higher price on eBay -- or at least search scrap aluminum for sale on eBay to identify current auction prices. Especially for individuals who have collected a large quantity of aluminum, eBay could be a way to obtain a more competitive bulk-rate sales price. If you cannot find a suitable buyer on eBay, you can always fall back on local dealers.

About the Author

Jeremy Hillpot is a writer and blogger who got his start writing legal complaints for stock fraud victims. Today he writes on a wide variety of topics including business, investing, online dating, resume writing tips and the basics of being a good copywriter. Hillpot holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Florida.

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