Each year since 1970 the 22nd day of April has been celebrated as Earth Day. Each year various events are held on this day to encourage and demonstrate support for the protection of the environment. There are numerous ways to celebrate and honor this day each year, some of which will not only benefit the health of our planet, but could benefit the health of your wallet as well.
Over the past 6 years I have made between $3,000 and $4,000 in my spare time by selling metals to various scrap yards in my area. I kind of got into the practice of selling “junk” for money by chance when an in-law of mine asked me to remove a bunch of old metal from his yard and take it to sell at a local scrap yard. I agreed and was sort of astounded when I left the recycling center with over $200 cash in my pocket. I was hooked.
For probably the next two years I did not pass a piece of metal on the side of the road or at the edge of someone’s yard without stopping and loading it up in the back of my truck. I also checked the “free” section of Craigslist daily for people offering free scrap metal for its removal. I can not count how many washers, dryers, microwaves, and refrigerators I have loaded into the back of my truck and taken to the scrap yard, but I have counted plenty of extra money from doing so. I have even been able to buy a brand new utility trailer using money earned strictly from selling scrap.
As mentioned earlier selling scrap metal for extra money is not the only perk to the practice, it is also a big help to the environment. Recycled metal requires far less processing in order to get it into a useable state than new ores of the same metal require. This streamlined processing results in far less energy being used to achieve the same result. According to the American Geosciences Institute, recycled iron and steel requires about 72% less energy to refine than that of the mining and processing of raw iron ore, and there is an 80% reduction in energy use with recycled lead versus newly mined and processed lead. The AGI also states that in 2017 the amount of aluminum recycled in the United States saved enough energy to power over 7.5 million homes compared to the amount of energy that would have been used to mine and process the metal from raw aluminum ore.
Pictured above are a few metals commonly sold at metal recycling centers. These metals are aluminum, brass, iron, copper, and batteries that contain lead. Nonferrous metals (metals that do not contain iron such as copper, brass, aluminum, and lead) are usually the bigger money makers per pound, while ferrous metals (metals containing iron) are typically paid for by the ton. To differentiate between ferrous and nonferrous metals simply place a magnet on the metal, if the magnet sticks to it, it is ferrous, if the magnet does not stick to it, it is nonferrous. Magnets are attracted to iron and as stated above, nonferrous metals do not contain iron. Retractable magnets like this one are super helpful for differentiating between ferrous and nonferrous metals. Recycling prices of different metals can fluctuate often and vary from state to state, country to country, and continent to continent, the environmental benefits from recycling metals however is consistent world wide.
For recycling locations near you click the link to access Earth911’s recycling center database, it is a very useful resource Earth 911 Recycling Center Locator.
For the best information on the internet on how to make money recycling just about anything, click this link to Mike the Scrapper’s YouTube Channel.
Below are some recycling tools and equipment that will either help make you money, save you money, or both.
This wire stripper makes recycling copper and aluminum wire much quicker and easier.
Thanks for reading! To learn more about any of the products featured in this article simply click the product link or picture for customer reviews and additional product information.
To learn more about Earth Day and its history click this link to the EPA’s Earth Day Website.
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