How to Make Money from Scrap Metal

How to Make Money from Scrap Metal

If you’re just getting started with salvaging and selling scrap in Adelaide, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. It’s hard to find good information about where to start, where to look, and what to do once you find scrap metal to sell.

Denron Metals has years of experience in the scrap industry so we’ve put together this helpful article to get you off on the right foot. We list some of the common items you’ll come across as a scrapper, and how to turn them into cash.

Unwanted scrap metal to be sold

Finding Scrap

There are many ways to track down scrap metal to sell. Start close to home by searching your garage and backyard for old tools, discarded motors, broken bike frames, and so on. You can also ask around with family, friends, and neighbours to see if they have unwanted goods that could be taken in for steel recycling. Offer to pay a small but reasonable amount for the scrap and you will be more likely to get more of it in the future.

Once you’ve got a taste for it, talk to workshops, factories, charities, and other organisations about taking their metal waste off their hands. Again, be above-board and professional about this and you can establish something like a working relationship with them.

Time Is Money

The most basic principle for scrapping successfully is to value your time. Don’t spend hours carefully dismantling motors or appliances that will only net you slightly less if scrapped whole – that reduces your hourly rate and devalues your labour.

This is an important thing to keep in mind when you are first starting out and also remember, if you are new at something you may make a few mistakes at first, but that’s how you learn.

Common Items and What to Do with Them

Electric Motors

Generally scrap these whole – the components inside generally aren’t valuable enough to justify the time. Maybe make an exception if you have a lot of them and are proficient in dismantling engines quickly, in that case the copper wire inside may be worth it.

Sealed Units

Scrap these whole. There is copper wiring inside but getting to it will be very difficult as these units are housed in solid steel casing.

Computer Towers

These are very easy to take apart with simple household tools. Remove the RAM, motherboard, hard drive, low-grade boards, and power supplies and bring them in, along with the outer casing for aluminium recycling.


It’s best to take microwaves apart and scrap the electric motor, casing, low-grade board, and copper wiring separately. You’ll usually get a lower price for just a whole microwave.


These can be scrapped whole, but if you have more than five your best bet is removing the component parts.


A fridge can be taken apart for its copper tubing and sealed unit, but first you’ll need a professional to remove the freon from the appliance.

Air-Con Units

Just like fridges, these will need the freon removed before dismantling. Once that’s done you can get extra cash by removing the steel case, copper tubing, sealed unit, electric motor, and the aluminium/copper fin coil.

Get in Touch

Have scrap metal you need to sell, or want to learn more about scrapping? Call us on (08) 8352 8772 or contact us online.