If you do not believe it pays to be trashy I urge you to check the Kardashian family bank account and get back to me. Do not let that discourage you though, you do not need a nationally televised reality show to make money being trashy too. Actually, not only can you make money, you can make money while helping the environment in a multitude of ways. So how does one make money while simultaneously becoming an environmental hero by being trashy? The answer is simple, recycling.
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. 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 Earth911
If you are interested in helping the environment and making some extra cash check out this tool for help in differentiating between ferrous and nonferrous metals.
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