Scrap Metal Recycling

We buy almost all types of scrap metal, but we do not accept cars, trucks, or buses. We also do not pay for microwaves, but will accept them free of charge.

 

If you are a contractor, manufacturer, or repair shop:

We buy auto and air conditioner radiators, aluminum door and window scrap, copper and brass plumbing, electrical wire, and all metal parts from vehicles and machinery.

 

If it’s made of metal, we probably buy it!  Our price levels go up for 200#, 500# and 2000# loads of clean non-ferrous metals such as brass, copper, aluminum and stainless.

 

If you have used metal you’re looking to recycle, our prices are worth the drive. We proudly serve Moberly, Columbia, Jefferson City, Kirksville, Boonville, Hannibal, among many other cities and towns in the North-Central Missouri area.

Most beverage cans and some food cans are made of aluminum.  If a magnet sticks to them, they are steel cans and worth very little. Aluminum beverage cans are one of the highest-priced grades of aluminum scrap, but the food cans are a different alloy and have to be sold separately at a lower price.

 

Pop can tabs are the same grade as the rest of the aluminum can, so don’t pull them off expecting to get more money.  Instead they are cheaper when loose, and have to be boxed and sold to a different smelter for less money.  The companies that melt beverage cans require the material to be baled and do not accept loose items in boxes.

 

To get full value for beverage cans, make sure they are empty.  Even a little fluid in the bottom can weigh almost as much as the can.  When we detect fluid, we deduct enough weight to make sure we won’t come up short after the cans are baled and the liquid runs out.

 

Also take care to keep cans separate from your trash at home so everyone in the family knows which is which.  If we get a bag with trash in it, we will make a significant weight deduction or reject it and send it back home with you to be sorted out.

 

When calling us for prices, keep in mind that large loads pay a higher price.

Aluminum doors and windows have value if you remove the glass prior to delivering them to the recycling center.

 

To get the best payback, disassemble them until you have nothing but stripped-out frames. Remove screws, fittings, weather-stripping and corner pieces, making sure there is nothing left but aluminum, and you will get a much better price.

 

Windows from stores are sometimes welded at the corners, in which case there is no need to attempt disassembly beyond removing glass, weather-stripping and attachments.

 

In some cases, the window frames have been filled with a type of foam to better insulate your building from summer and winter temperature extremes. These are known as “thermal break windows” and there is no practical way to remove the foam, so the frames sell at a much cheaper price.

Cars and trucks today have several parts manufactured from aluminum.

 

One of the most obvious applications – you see it every time a vehicle drives by – is the wheel.  Unless your ride is extremely old, it has aluminum wheels.  Remove the tire, valve stem and wheel weights and you have one of the higher priced grades of scrap aluminum.  Wheels with a chrome finish pay less, as do wheels clad with plastic.

 

Transmissions and transaxles are usually built with an aluminum case which is full of mostly steel parts.  Obviously if you strip them down all the way, you will get better money for the “cleaned” aluminum case, which is made from cast aluminum, one of the cheaper grades.

 

Sometimes engines, or just the heads, are cast aluminum as well, needing to have the steel parts removed to maximize the price.

Alternators have an aluminum housing, but also copper windings inside, so they are bought in the same grade as electric motors.

 

Radiators and transmission fluid coolers are usually aluminum.  Removing any plastic and steel that is attached will raise the value of those items.

 

In rare cases you may find a car has an aluminum hood or fenders.  Any time there is a doubt, use a magnet to test the piece of metal – it will stick to steel, but not to aluminum.

There are a lot of different grades of aluminum that have not already been mentioned on this website.

 

Boat motors are usually cast aluminum with steel parts inside, just like lawnmower motors.  These are bought as “Breakage”, meaning they will need to be broken into pieces or smelted to separate the metals.  If you have spare time and hand tools, you can usually strip it yourself.

 

Many pots, pans, skillets, and other cookware are partially aluminum.  The trick to getting a higher price is whether you can remove plastic, rubber, heating elements, etc.

Sometimes structural shapes are aluminum instead of steel, like pipe, angle, channel, square tubing, and flat plates.   Other items can include screens, grills and sheets.

 

Some machine shops generate aluminum turnings – the trick there is to be careful no other turnings (like steel) get mixed in, and the cutting oils get drained out so we don’t have to deduct weight.

 

Some electrical cable that brings power into your home or business is made from aluminum wires with a steel wire down the center to give it strength.  It may or may not be covered with plastic insulation.  Aluminum wire yields its highest value when there is no steel or plastic attached.

 

As always, you can use a magnet to sort metals – it will stick to steel, but not aluminum.

Some buildings have metal siding, soffit, fascia, and gutters.  Up until about 40 years ago, most of those were manufactured from steel.  Then aluminum became very popular, followed by vinyl.

 

If you have some of this material, first you can bang on it with something.  If it makes a metallic sound, it is not vinyl and the next step is to check it with a magnet.  The magnet will stick to steel, but not aluminum.

 

Sometimes siding has insulation on the back – after stripping it off, you will have siding that is ready for recycling.

If you have shiny metal that is as heavy as steel, but does not stick to a magnet, it is probably stainless steel.

 

Stainless steel that is most commonly used in your home is about 8% nickel, 18% chrome, and the remainder is steel. Frequent uses for nickel-containing stainless run the gamut from kitchen sinks and cookware to restaurant grills and refrigerators. Restaurants use it so much because it will not rust, therefore they can clean it well enough to minimize germs and meet local health code requirements. In our business it is referred to as “300 Series Stainless.”

 

As with other metals, the way to get the most money is to remove stainless from other metals and substances such as plastic, steel, etc.

 

Usually when you run across something that looks like stainless, but is strongly magnetic like steel, it turns out to be chrome-steel, which has no nickel in it. The high-chrome content allows it to resist corrosion better than steel alone. Our industry refers to it as “400 Series Stainless.”

 

Other nickel alloys usually have a lot more nickel in them and can pay quite a bit more money, but you only find them in industrial applications. Interestingly enough, the more nickel, the more likely it is to stick to a magnet. Pure nickel is highly magnetic.

 

If you work in a business that uses nickel alloys, we are able to test them for you using an X-Ray Analyzer. It shows us how much of each element is in the alloy, allowing us to figure out which grade it corresponds to and quote a price.

Many different types of brass show up at our recycling center.

 

The most common is Yellow Brass, which for many years has been used in plumbing.  Faucets and thin water lines under the sink are often brass with a chrome coating, making them resistant to corrosion and easy to keep shiny.  Other faucets are zinc with a chrome finish, or even plastic.

 

Red Brass is usually found in larger valves used by industrial and local government water systems. Water meters are graded as Semi-Red Brass and must have glass, plastic, and possibly steel attachments removed before they are a finished product. NOTE: Water meters are usually the property of your city or local water district, so we have documentation requirements when individuals try to sell them.

 

Brass shell casings are acceptable as long as they have been discharged, and the primer pin is brass rather than stainless or steel.

 

Automobiles sometimes have brass radiators and heater cores – just strip any plastic, rubber, or steel off and they are ready to sell for top price.

 

If you disassemble machinery and end up with brass bushings, they are normally one of two alloys.  Hard Brass is not magnetic at all, and Manganese Bronze will usually exert a slight pull on a small magnet dangling from a chain.

Copper is most commonly used in water pipe and electrical wire.  When newly produced, it has a bright gold color.  Over time it fades to more of a golden-brown.

 

Copper that has been exposed to moisture for a long time will develop a green layer of corrosion.  Some buildings over the years have used copper roofing and subsequently show a distinctive green color on top.  Sometime gutters and downspouts are copper as well.

 

If you replace water lines in your home or business, they will usually be copper.  Extremely old buildings sometimes have pipe that was manufactured from steel, which is grey or rust colored (unless painted over) and will stick to a magnet.  In recent years, the use of plastic pipe or flexible tubing has become more widespread, replacing copper in that application.

 

When recycling copper plumbing, pay attention to whether there are fittings or valves on the end.  These will normally be made from some other metal alloy, like brass or steel.  The color will be different from the rest of the pipe, so it’s easy to notice.  Removing these in advance will save you from weight or price deductions at the recycling center.

 

When it comes to grading, used water pipe is #2 Copper.  New pieces that do not have solder on them will go for #1 Copper, which is worth more money.

 

The walls of your house or business have copper wiring going from room to room, connecting the electrical outlets to the fuse box.  Another copper cable connects your fuse box to the local utility’s pole or line buried in the ground.

 

By simply removing the wires from any outlets or boxes they are attached to, you have upgraded them to where you will receive the best price, unless you want to go to all the trouble to hand-strip the plastic insulation off the copper wire.

 

Important note:  It is illegal to burn the coating off of copper wire.  The Missouri Department of Natural Resources imposes severe fines on people caught burning illegally.

 

Hand-stripped copper that is 16 gauge in thickness or heavier, and still looks bright, is graded as Bare Bright Copper.  If it has been exposed to air long enough to acquire a dull finish, it is #1 Copper.   If the wire is less than 16 gauge in thickness, it is graded as #2 Copper, regardless of whether it is bright or dull.

 

If you run into those rare pieces of copper gutter, downspout, or roofing you will have what we call Sheet Copper.  As long as there are no attachments made from some other metal, or a heavy layer of tar, it is ready to sell as is.

The batteries that come out of cars, trucks, heavy equipment, ride-mowers, ATV’s, and motorcycles have lead plates inside and have value as recyclable items.

 

These are purchased by the pound, since there are so many different sizes there is no true “average” battery weight that would allow us to quote them per unit.

 

The price increases when you have larger quantities. At present we pay extra money at 500# and 1000#.

 

Industrial batteries and forklift batteries pay less than auto batteries.

 

We do not accept alkaline, lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium batteries. Lead-acid batteries are the only type we recycle.

Air conditioners are built with a radiator that has aluminum fins and copper tubes.  While you might think the copper and aluminum have to be separated to bring a good price, that’s not the case – this item sells just the way it is, except you have to remove the thin steel plates from the ends.

 

You will see that the copper tubes come out the end of the radiator through the steel plate, then make a u-turn and go back in.  You can chisel or saw these “U’s” off, then knock the plate off the ends.  Once finished, you have an item ready to bring top price.

 

Some AC units are built with an all-aluminum radiator – there are no copper tubes. Again, be sure to remove any steel mounting plates if you want to get the best price.

 

Be aware – if you take an air conditioner out of service, it is illegal to cut the line and let the refrigerant (Freon) escape into the atmosphere.  The Environmental Protection Agency requires that a licensed technician remove the refrigerant before the unit is disassembled.

While we do not buy cars, trucks, buses, etc., we do buy other types of mobile equipment.  We also do not accept whole mobile homes due to the large amount of non-metallic content (wood, glass windows, etc.).  We will buy metal that you strip off vehicles (hoods, fenders, frame, engine, transmission, bumpers, wheels, etc.) as well as metal you remove from mobile homes.

 

If you have an old trailer that was pulled by your car, truck or tractor we can buy that.

 

Lawnmowers, tillers, ATV’s, scooters, etc. are acceptable as shredder scrap.  All we ask is that you drain the gasoline and oil before hauling them in for recycling.

 

Farm tractors are bought as a different grade of scrap iron, and should have the fuel, oil and rubber tires removed.  Otherwise we will make a weight deduction for tires when the tractor arrives.

 

One valuable tip: When scrapping a piece of mobile equipment, remove the lead-acid battery and sell it separately.  You will receive about twice as much money per pound compared to scrap iron.  You will also get more money for copper wire and aluminum parts that the steel has been stripped out of.

 

We buy farm equipment such as plows, harrows, planters, manure spreaders, combines, corn-pickers, etc.  With smaller tires on equipment, we generally don’t take a weight deduction.  If you can pull the machine in behind a truck, or load it onto a vehicle, we will buy it.

 

In the case of wheels that have been taken off equipment or vehicles, we only pay for the wheel if the tire has been removed.

Electric motors that have copper windings inside are worth a lot more than ordinary scrap iron.  To get full value, just disconnect it from a mounting base, pulley, pump or anything else that may be attached.  The idea is to sell just the motor itself so the ratio of steel to copper will be correct when the consumer buys it for recycling.

 

Some appliances, like washers and dryers, have electric motors with aluminum windings.  These are merely worth scrap iron price – they will be sent to a shredder so the aluminum can be separated from the steel after it is ground up.

Refrigeration compressors are used in air conditioning units, refrigerators and freezers.  They have copper windings inside a steel shell.  The steel content is heavier than it is in the electric motors, so they bring less money, but it is still quite a bit more than ordinary scrap iron.

 

As mentioned on our appliance page, it is illegal to remove a compressor from an appliance before the refrigerant (Freon) has been recovered by a licensed technician.  We will not pay for an air conditioner, freezer or refrigerator if the refrigerant line is cut or the compressor is removed unless we are informed it was performed by a technician and you provide us with his registration information.

 

Refrigeration compressors are not to be confused with cast iron air compressors, which do not have copper windings inside.  Those are purchased at a price similar to shredder scrap.

Other lesser-used metals we purchase include lead, zinc, tungsten carbide and catalytic converters.

 

Lead has been used for a long time in fishing line sinkers and automotive wheel weights, although environmental concerns about lead are leading to material substitution.  To test lead, you should be able to cut into it with a knife and it will show a dark gray color.  When you cut it in half, you can take the freshly cut piece and rub it against paper – it will make a mark like a pencil does.  Wheel weights pay less than ordinary lead due to the steel clips attached and a difference in alloy.

 

Auto batteries have lead plates inside, but there is no money to be made by removing them from the plastic case.  We sell to smelters that recycle the lead, plastic and even the acid, so a battery has its fullest value when it is intact.  Opening a battery yourself only leads to environmental problems:  spilled acid and lead residue on the plastic case when you dispose of it.

 

Zinc has been used for many years to make carburetors on cars and lawnmowers.  Older cars had zinc grills in front of the radiator, not to mention hood ornaments and the frames that went around headlights and taillights.  Zinc is also a dark, grayish metal, compared to the light color of aluminum.

 

Another lesser-used metal is magnesium.  Lawnmower decks and old Volkswagen engines are two items that were often composed of magnesium.  It is lightweight, like aluminum, and light-colored.  If you file or grind a spot, then put a drop of vinegar on it, you will find that vinegar makes bubbles on magnesium but has no reaction with other metals.

 

Catalytic Convertors are part of the exhaust system on automobiles.  They have platinum-group metals inside a stainless steel or chrome-steel shell.  Remove the convertor from the exhaust pipe and it is ready to sell.

 

Tungsten carbide is used in various metal-working industries in small amounts.  We confirm its grade and value by using our X-Ray Analyzer to determine how much of each element is present.  It is slightly magnetic, compared to ordinary steel which is strongly magnetic.