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What Kind of Scrap Metal Is Worth the Most?


In our world of sustainable initiatives where conserving resources is environmentally friendly and often profitable, recycling is gaining momentum. Municipalities are recycling household refuse that includes plastics, paper, glass, and metals of many types. Most large companies have adopted recycling as an important element of their sustainability mission statement. Simply stated, sustainability is meeting our present needs without compromising the needs of future generations. Since the planet’s resources are finite, the concept of conserving and reusing resources makes sense.

Why Is there Value in Recycled Metals?

As a nation, we export massive amounts of scrap steel and other metals to be converted elsewhere into products that may, in fact, be returned here for reuse. Because of their higher value, some metals are separated, cleaned, and reused here. When the cost of recycling certain metals is less than mining for more, recycling has become and industry. Scrap metal dealers pay a premium price for clean recovered metals of various types. So, which metals are worth the most when recycled?

Market Pricing for Recycled Metals

Many factors determine the value of clean, recycled metal. Market demand, total availability, and the market value for virgin, newly refined metal defines the top limit. Some recycled metals can be recovered and converted to a usable form will bring value and profit for the effort. An important source of many valuable recyclable metals is buildings and homes. Copper, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and even lead or iron are prevalent in some building or household plumbing, wiring, appliances, and ornamental features. Old buildings and homes that are demolished or completely retrofitted can yield massive amounts of some of these materials.

What Recycled Metal Is Most Valuable?

The value of recycled metals fluctuates from time to time. Demand and availability, like everything else, drive the relative value of recycled metals. However, the four most valuable recycled metals that have practical utility are copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and brass. Unique characteristics like high conductivity, durability, beauty, and resistance to corrosion make these metals more desirable and always in demand.
  • Copper is usually the most valuable material to recycle. Copper is an essential component for household plumbing and piping in addition to being the key conductive component for larger electrical devices and motors. With the right stripping, splitting, or granulating equipment, clean, valuable copper wiring can be recovered from virtually any size cable or wire.
  • Brass is another valuable metal material to recycle. Attractive and shiny, brass has both utilitarian and decorative value. Present in plumbing fixtures and fittings, electrical elements, door knobs and locks, ammunition casings, and many musical instruments, recycling brass is profitable when reduces to a clean, recyclable condition.
  • Aluminum is the next most valuable and highly abundant recyclable metal. Aluminum is used extensively in food and beverage containers, automotive parts, trucks and trains, various types of conduit, and many household items.
  • Stainless steel is next on the list. The metal is prevalent in car parts and trims as well as in home appliances, food industry, medical facilities, and the energy field.
Electrical contractors, construction companies, plumbers, and many others with a continual supply of scrap material have recognized the value of these metals and supplement profits using state-of-the-art cable strippers, granulators, and hydraulic shears.

How Can I Recycle Scrap Metal?

Mid-Atlantic Waste will advise the best recovery systems for the volume and type of scrap material you may wish to recover. Mid-Atlantic Waste is a national distributor of wire granulators, hydraulic shears, wire strippers, balers, and roll splitters. Our experts can assist with helping to identify the right equipment for your needs. For assistance, contact us online or call us at 877-426-6112!