Three Tips For Organizing And Storing Scrap Metal

Posted on: 17 October 2017

Selling scrap metal to a hungry buyer is a great way to make some extra money. A common problem that many people who pursue this income source have, however, is organizing and storing the metal in a way that makes it easy to manage. Here are three tips for handling your clutch of scrap metal to ensure you make the most money possible.

Store in Plastic Bins

Possibly the best tips for storing scrap metal is to put it in plastic bins, and for a couple of reasons. Cardboard doesn't adequately protect against environmental elements such as water, which could cause the metal to rust and lose value. Additionally, there are number of pests that love to eat cardboard, which increases your risk of an infestation in the area where you're storing the scrap metal.

Lastly, plastic bins reduce the risk of injury because they can better resist sharp edges from broken pieces of metal. If you try to store metal in this condition in cardboard boxes, the edges will eventually tear the paper, which may result in someone getting cut or damage to other items in your workshop.

Be aware, though, that plastic can cause "sweating", i.e. condensation may form on the metal when humidity levels are high. To combat this, place desiccants or other moisture absorbing substances in the container with the metal. Be sure to replace the desiccants every so often as they eventually become saturated and unusable. Alternatively, you can dry out the desiccant by placing it in the oven at 245 degrees for 16 hours.

Keep Similar Metals Together

The second thing you should do is keep similar metals together. This will help you maximize your profits in a couple of ways. First, it'll be easier to ensure you take all the metal in a particular group to the scrap metal facility at the same time. Having the same metal stored in different area or mixed together with metals of a different type increases the risk you'll overlook something. You'll then either have to waste gas returning to the scrap metal facility, take it another day when metal prices may be lower, or wait until another opportune time comes around to turn it in.

A second reason you want to store metals separate is because some of them may react negatively to each other. However, this is only a problem if you live near salt water. Salt is corrosive to metal, causing it to deteriorate at a faster rate than normal. Unfortunately, the deterioration occurs even faster when two dissimilar metals are touching each other in the same corrosive environment. Metal that's eaten away by rust doesn't garner as much money, so you definitely want to protect your investment by storing the scrap according to type in different areas in your workshop.

Make a Schedule

If you are working with someone else or a third-party company who will pick up the metal for delivery or bring metal to you, be sure to develop a schedule and post it in a place where you'll see it often. This can help you save time and reduce the risk of you missing out on opportunities. For instance, if you have someone pick up your copper every Tuesday, you can take time Monday night to prepare the metal for collection.

As noted previously, metal prices do fluctuate. So it may be in your best interest to keep track of the different prices scrap yards are paying on a day to day basis. This may be able to help you predict the best days to take your metal to the yard to maximize your profits. If you know a certain place pays more for steel at the end of the month, for example, you can save up your scraps and wait until then to turn them in.

For more tips on organizing your metal stash or to find out how much companies are paying for scraps, check out sites like and contact a local scrap metal buyer.