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Tips and Tricks!

Here you can find some helpful tips and tricks when turning in your scrap metal. We want you to get the most money from your scrap. Recycling is good for the environment and it's also good for your are a few simple things you can do to get the most out of your recycling trips. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule, but these are some general guidelines for you to follow to help get the most out of your junk!


Cleaning copper properly can be confusing for some, but we promise, it's really easy and usually worth the time!

  1. #1 copper is any clean copper thicker than a pencil lead with no coating of any kind.

  2. #2 copper is stripped wire with varnish, discoloration, or debris left on it. It can also be fine hair-like thinner wire. Pipes with copper fittings, solder, paint, tape, etc. 

  3. To turn your #2 copper into #1 copper you simply need to clean (cut or remove) any fittings off, any other metal or non-copper materials off. This includes paint, plastic, rubber, tape, solder or anything else. #1 copper is simply just 100% clean pure copper.

  4. Another category of copper is Bare Bright. Bare Bright is bright shiny clean or new copper and is worth a little more than #1 copper.

  5. Burned wire is considered #1 copper assuming that it is clean and without globs of plastic, and debris. It is illegal to intentionally burn wire, so please keep that in mind when stripping wire. 

  6. Light copper is another category that consists of thin copper sheets, flashing, gutters, and tanks.

Copper Wire

Copper wire has a TON of different make it easier on ourselves and on you guys, we only buy in 3 categories. Then we do the extra sorting and preparing accordingly. Here you can learn what the different types of wire are and how to clean them properly. 

  1. The categories of wire are: #1 Wire, CCW (copper coated wire or insulated wire), and Harness Wire/Xmas Tree Wire. 

  2. The difference between #1 Wire and regular CCW is that #1 Wire is thicker than a pencil lead and that there is no tin coating. We also use a ratio to determine the difference. Anything that is 45% or more ratio of copper to coating would be considered #1 wire.

  3. When you clean your wire of all non-copper materials (rubber, plastic, etc) it becomes #1 or #1 copper! There's a huge price difference here, so this is usually worth the effort. If it's fine hair-like in thickness it would be considred #2 copper and if it's thicker than a pencil lead and completely clean it's #1 copper.

  4. Burning copper wire is illegal. While it does remove the coating, it hurts the environment and you shouldn't do it. Instead, you can use a tool called a wire stripper or if you don't have a wire stripper you can also use a utility knife.

Copper with Brass

One of our categories for metal is copper with brass. This can be confusing for some so we thought we would put it all out there. 

  1. Copper pipes with brass fittings/valves and the handles removed fall under this category. If the handles are not removed then they will be considered dirty brass. 

Dirty Brass

Dirty brass can be anything that is brass but has other materials.

  1. Any brass that has other materials on it that are not removed will be classified as dirty brass. It pays to clean your material! 

  2. Brass valves with steel or aluminum handles are considered dirty brass.

Brass Radiators

Brass radiators are pretty easy to clean and can be worth it if you have a lot. 

  1. Remove any plastic tanks, rubber, steel, and other materials aside from brass and copper to get prepared pricing on brass rads.

Old Sheet Aluminum

Old Sheet literally is just thin sheet aluminum. There are benefits to cleaning it and getting a better price but it's not always worth it to clean!

  1. Clean old sheet aluminum consists of nothing but aluminum. You will need to remove any steel screws/nails, foam, insulation, etc. 

  2. Not all sheet aluminum is worth cleaning. For example, you may find that a boat made of sheet aluminum has too many other materials and the time to break it all down would not be worth it to you. 

  3. To get prepared old sheet you would need to completely remove any steel AND cut or fold the sheet down to 2X3 or smaller pieces. 

  4. Some common items that are considered Old Sheet Aluminum are aluminum siding, roofing, and aluminum radiators.

  5. Any aluminum tanks (any size) needs to be cut in half to be prepared.

Extrusion Aluminum

Extrusion is a type of aluminum that is molded using an extruder. This is similar to pushing play dough through a mold. 

  1. To be considered extrusion your aluminum needs to be free of any debris and other materials including tape, foam, die cast, and screws.

  2. Common items that are extrusion are aluminum window frames, door frames, and aluminum ladders.

Cast Aluminum

Cast aluminum is another category of aluminum.

  1. Common items that are cast aluminum are motor parts, some but not all bbq grill hoods, and some automobile parts.

  2. Cast aluminum must have little to no other materials on it. 

Irony Aluminum

Irony aluminum is aluminum that has not been cleaned of steel. Anything with steel screws in it will go for irony aluminum.

  1. If your aluminum is dirty and not cleaned by removing all materials and steel you will be paid for irony aluminum. This is usually the same price as #1 prepared iron and done over the truck scale. 

  2. Common items that go for irony are aluminum boats, screen doors with screws and hinges, any sheet aluminum with steel, snowmobiles with no cowlings, tracks, or seats, aluminum transmissions, aluminum transmissions, etc.

  3. Typically the same price as #1 prepared iron.

  4. All fluids MUST be drained from anything with a motor or transmission as well as pans removed.

Yellow Brass

Yellow brass is of course yellow in color and one of the more common non-ferrous metals.

  1. Common items that are yellow brass are bullet shells, brass fittings, some sink drains, and keys. 

  2. Bullet shells should be kept separate from your other brass when organizing your load. 

  3. Yellow brass should be free of any other materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, etc or it will be considered dirty brass or copper with brass.

Comp/Red Brass

Comp can commonly be confused with copper but it's important to know what you've got so you can separate it properly!

  1. Comp/red brass is typically found as valves, fittings, and marine applications.

  2. Most but not all will have a textured outer finish whereas copper typically does not. This is one way to easily tell if it's red brass and not copper as well as it's reddish in color.

  3. To be considered comp/red brass it needs to be clean. IE no steel, aluminum, or any other materials can be on it. If other materials are present it will be considered dirty brass.


Lost of items are considered iron but there are a few details that can help get you the best price.

  1. Heavy iron is considered to be any iron that is 1/4" or thicker. To be considered prepared it would need to be cut to 5'x2' or smaller. The price is significantly better for prepared so consider cutting your heavy iron to size.

  2. Unprepared iron is anything larger than 5'x2' and is 1/4" thick or thicker. This includes but is not limited to large equipment, I beams, trailer frames, and truck frames.

  3. Examples of things that are prepared iron without any effort are steel rims, brake rotors and drums, nuts and bolts.

  4. Cast iron motors are considered prepared but they must be completely drained. 

Cleaning A/C's

Cleaning air conditioning units can be beneficial if you have several. They contain other precious metals that can be separated and turned in for a higher price.

  1. Freon needs to be removed from all units regardless if they are clean or not. There are safe ways to remove Freon, please be sure to do so in the proper way.

  2. When properly cleaned, an A/C unit can provide copper, electric motors, copper wire, sealed units, brass, copper aluminum/aluminum radiators, and light iron. When not cleaned, all of these will stay in the unit and the entire thing goes for light iron price. That's a big difference!

  3. To clean, remove the outer casing and separate all of it's components. Once the materials are separated, be sure to remove the steel from the copper aluminum radiators for the best price (the radiator ends can be cleaned but we buy them whole if you decide not to clean them as well as the radiators themselves). Separate all copper by removing and setting aside. Remove fan from electric motor and set aside. Remove plug ends from copper wire. 

Light Iron

Light iron is an extremely broad category and encompasses a massive amount of different items. 

  1. Some more common items that are considered light iron are bicycles, washers, dryers, metal shelving, steel roofing and siding, refrigerators and freezers, lawn mowers, car parts, etc. 

  2. Anything with gas, oil etc needs to be drained of ALL fluids completely.

  3. Anything with Freon (refrigerant) needs to have the Freon responsibly removed. It is illegal to let Freon out into the air. 

  4. Any tin items or very thin steel are considered light iron. 

Car/Truck Rims

Rims from vehicles have different categories but all follow the same basic principles.

  1. All rims should be without a tire for the best prices.

  2. We do not buy steel rims with tires, however, we do buy aluminum rims with tires for a flat price. 

  3. Tractor trailer truck rims are considered 6061 aluminum and have a separate price to regular car and truck aluminum rims. Tractor trailer truck rims need to have the valve stems removed.

  4. Steel rims with tires removed are considered #1 prepared iron and should be separated from any light, unprepared, or irony when dropping off down back to get the best price.

Electric Motors/Sealed Units

Electric motors come in lots of different items and can be turned in on their own for more money. 

  1. Electric motors need to be the motor alone. If there are pumps or steel attached they will be considered light iron. 

  2. Fans and pulleys should be removed.

  3. Sealed Units are electric motors in a sealed encasement. They are a different price, but the same rules apply. Sealed units almost exclusively come from refrigeration and well pumps.

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