Fun with scrap

By Leslie Silverman


I have been spending my spare time in the most unusual way—scrapping.  Metal that is.

I used to “have a guy“ for this. He was between selling wood season and lawn maintenance season, and I had him for about a month. He would come to my land, take some metal, load it on a trailer, take it to the one of two places in the city and turn it into cash.

We then split the cash. When he did it the amount of money we split varied but it was never less than $20.

I have engaged in this process on my own twice now.

The first time I made a whopping $3.87. I actually got handed a $2 bill in that transaction. Being that was my first time I expected to make very little, even though I knew a lot of the rules.

In case you’re wondering, the most important rule is to have your iron prepared. This means it needs to be a certain size.

You get docked a lot if it’s over three feet. All of my iron that day fit into buckets and met this criteria. I can’t imagine how much you get docked since again I made less than $4 on this trip and dumped off three buckets and various old furnace/duct parts. But hey, maybe this is why so few people are actually in the scrap business

Anyhow…my second trip was much more profitable. I made $5.50! I hauled tin this time.

Tin is magnetic but it doesn’t rust and it’s far lighter. It does not have to be prepared so it was easy for me to gather and haul. I just didn’t have much of it I guess, although it looked like a lot to me!

I have to admit I am a bit discouraged that I have not yet managed to bring in double digits on my hauls. But I am not giving up!

I have invested in a utility knife (which cost more than the $9.37 I have made thus far) and am now stripping copper wire. That’s where the big money is. I am also gathering aluminum from wheels and window frames.

This is a much harder task because the aluminum needs to be clean-stripped of rubber, foam, glass, etc.

Now why all of you are likely shaking your head wondering why the heck this girl is even bothering to do all of this work for so little money, I do have an answer — in so many ways, albeit not monetarily, it’s very rewarding.

I get to use simple hand tools and take various, what would otherwise be, landfill items apart. The other day I used pliers to take aluminum squares off some long thingy.

I had no clue what said long thingy was or did, but I saw the aluminum was attached to the iron and that meant money to me.

I saw how the two metals were attached, used my pliers, unattached them, and voila—metal money. I felt a simple satisfaction in the process of figuring out how they were joined and then making them be unjoined.

And while the process took 15 minutes and likely only yielded me a few cents I felt so accomplished.

And yes, I know…I have way too much time on my hands!