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Scrap Price 4/23/2022

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
I am always amazed at how loose the scrap yards are on the east coast- which may be why you can find all these ads on the internet promising that they will pay the postage if you send your "used" cat converters to NJ. Some even will mail you the box.
Here in Wa. State, zero scrap sales without photo ID, and anything over 30 bucks is a check. This, alone, cuts down on stolen stuff. There are a bunch of other rules- cant sell wire that has the insulation burnt off to scrap yards here, cant sell beer kegs, and you have to keep records of who you bought every cat converter from, including pics of their id, and there is a 3 day waiting period for getting paid for cat. If they catch you selling a scrapyard a stolen cat, you go on the "no buy list", and no scrapyard in the state can legally buy anything from you ever again.
My local yard, who I have been working with for 27 years, actually recognized some scrap someone tried to sell them as mine (due to the shapes that had been cut out of the stainless plate) They held the scrap, called the cops, and the seller got busted- over 30 bucks, obvio, it was maybe 500 lbs of SS drops. After a few weeks, I got the drops back. They had been stolen from the parking lot of my waterjet cutting sub, sitting on a pallet.
Thats the kind of yard I make a point of patronizing.

In Michigan things change with the weather as it pertains to how scrap is handled. Our state government has really come down on scrap businesses when it comes to keeping records of who is selling what. I think a lot of it is from all of the stolen cat converters. Seems like they would be a part of comprehensive coverage and insurance companies have a lot of pull with the lawmakers.

There was a time that we got paid cash at the window. Then it was a check. Now they give you a plastic card and there is an atm in the customer side of the office window that gives you cash when you put the plastic card in it. Donuts and coffee too.

And I'm sure that nobody selling scrap is anonymous anymore. Cameras everywhere.

I don't by any means consider myself a scrapper. I'm just a guy that occasionally sells some scrap. I do know a guy that has been selling scrap for a living for probably 40 years. He told me that he tried the factory life and just couldn't do it. He needed freedom of being outdoors and doing his own thing. Couple of years ago he told me about someone calling him and they had bought a commercial/industrial type of property and it had a lot of old iron sitting around. Stuff that was way too heavy for him to handle but he is buddies with a wrecker service that treats him right and he called them and had them haul it to the scrap yard. One of the pieces was an old Pettibone that weighed over 10 tons (not sure what kind of tons). He paid the wrecker guy and still had $1,800 left and gave half of that to the guy that gave him the machinery. He said the guy said "what's that for" and he told him that he splits the money he gets with the people that give him the scrap. No wonder he keeps busy with it. He's in his 80's now and doesn't work hard at it anymore.
 

cyanidekid

Titanium
Joined
Jun 4, 2016
Location
Brooklyn NYC
Dan seems to have a bad attitude. Calling Americans dumb isn't smart on his part.
Here a ton of oats is still 2000 pounds. A ton of hay is still 2000 pounds. A ton of wheat is still 2000 pounds. And a ton of steel is still 2000 pounds. Try to charge a farmer for 2240 lbs of corn when he buys a ton and go home with fewer teeth. Maybe Dan should go back to his third world country if he doesn't like the US. Or perhaps being a snowboarder he has chosen to and does live with the dregs of the country.
It would be nice if the moderators would regulate the language at a higher , more professional level.



yes it sure would! noting how many professionals have posted with the prevalence of the metric ton in the scrap trade, I'd say calling Americans dumb is actually pretty smart, but I'll add all humans are dumb.

metals market prices are based on international markets, daily prices are set in Asia and Europe in metric tons before your (or my) dumb ass gets out of bed, so it's pretty easy to see why its the unit in common use.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
Price here fluctuates wildy on shipping schedules .....$150 one day,$350 the next ......if a ship is loading ,yards will pay a lot more as their turnaround is instaneous.....if a ship looks like leaving without full holds ,then sometimes prices will spike for a night .....they also pay a premium for heavy ,because it can be packed on top of the shred to force it down...........as to converters ....lowlifes are advertizing all the time in FB for converters.....sale of these is supposed to be strictly regulated by police ......yet the explosion of foreign persons with contacts in places like Dubai,Emirates etc,means they just need to pack stolen converters in with other scrap ,and have it sorted in the Gulf ,where the worlds biggest market for stolen stuff is.
 

john.k

Diamond
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Location
Brisbane Qld Australia
I have long had an account with scrap yards,because there have been a number of notable armed robberies ,where robbers took money from patrons leaving a yard.......I dont want anyone at a scrapyard thinking that I have masses of cash stored at home.....I make a point of doing everything digital ...I often show people that I have not a single coin or note on me.....the days when scrappies had $50k in cash for that special deal are gone......the auctions dont like taking cash any more either .
 

DanASM

Hot Rolled
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
The scrap yards I have dealt with in 3 states all have to scan my I.D. once a year and record my SS#. I was under the impression this was a federal law. I can remember going back 20 years and this was always the rules.

Cameras are everywhere, no one is invisible.

Scrap yards have quotas for the year. When it gets closer to the end of the year and they are short on quota they will jack prices up to get people to turn in more. When quota gets hit they will drop the prices as they dont need any more (no buyers).

I asked the local yard who they sell to and the response was "whoever will pay us the most for it". I was under the impression they trucked it right to the ports.

Some other yard might be low on quota so they will pay higher than normal for it to get enough to turn in. Some might go straight to the mills in the rust belt @ 44k lb loads. Some might go straight to the port to be loaded and sent to China.

Sometimes the ship is docked at port and can handle more than anticipated, so prices spike overnight and then drop again the next day.

Some yards have too much scrap and some not enough. The game gets played throughout the year until hopefully everyone hits their quotas for the year. In the winter states it can be difficult to get people scrapping in Nov-Dec, but Ive seen prices pretty high that would entice anyone to get out and scrap more.
 

Bill D

Diamond
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Modesto, CA USA
I learned something from this thread. I had always thought a long ton was a metric ton. I had no idea they were two separate things.
I guess it is like which weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of gold. It is a trick question most get wrong. A pound of feathers weighs more then. a pound of gold.
Of course an ounce of feathers weighs less then an ounce of gold.
Bill D
 

Ries

Diamond
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Location
Edison Washington USA
The scrap yards I have dealt with in 3 states all have to scan my I.D. once a year and record my SS#. I was under the impression this was a federal law. I can remember going back 20 years and this was always the rules.

Cameras are everywhere, no one is invisible.

Scrap yards have quotas for the year. When it gets closer to the end of the year and they are short on quota they will jack prices up to get people to turn in more. When quota gets hit they will drop the prices as they dont need any more (no buyers).

I asked the local yard who they sell to and the response was "whoever will pay us the most for it". I was under the impression they trucked it right to the ports.

Some other yard might be low on quota so they will pay higher than normal for it to get enough to turn in. Some might go straight to the mills in the rust belt @ 44k lb loads. Some might go straight to the port to be loaded and sent to China.

Sometimes the ship is docked at port and can handle more than anticipated, so prices spike overnight and then drop again the next day.

Some yards have too much scrap and some not enough. The game gets played throughout the year until hopefully everyone hits their quotas for the year. In the winter states it can be difficult to get people scrapping in Nov-Dec, but Ive seen prices pretty high that would entice anyone to get out and scrap more.

It works completely differently here. The yard I sell my scrap to is family owned, I have known the family since 95. They also, on the same 10 acres or so, own a new steel distributor, which, I think, makes them more money.

They have no "quotas". They are savvy businessmen, now in 3rd generation ownership, so the may, for example, stockpile an acre of aluminum if they think aluminum prices will go up soon, but largely, they sell through as quickly as possible. Taxes, labor, and the cost of land here are all high, and sitting on a lot of material is a money loser.

they only sell steel and iron to one mill- its pretty much the only buyer within a reasonable distance- the Nucor mill in Seattle. Every week, they send several truckloads to that mill, which buys most of the steel scrap for Washington and Northern Idaho. The next nearest mills are about 6 hours farther, in Northern Oregon. The Nucor mill usually stockpiles several hundred thousand tons of scrap in its yards, as most Nucor mills do.
We (the USA) have not exported significant amounts of steel scrap to China or Japan or Korea in 40 years or more- the vast majority of US scrap steel is made into new US steel.

Non-ferrous, and SS, however, are, indeed, exported. There are a number of buyers, who generally represent middleman processing companies, who travel the USA. It was almost all chinese, for 20 or more years, but the Chinese government has been cracking down on that, and my guess is some of it is going now to Taiwan, Indonesia, and India.
And those guys do, indeed, make regular visits to most US scrapyards, and buy in 40,000lb increments.

There is a great first hand description of how all this works in the book Junkyard Planet, by 3rd generation Minneapolis scrap yard kid Adam Minter, who is now a leading journalist globally on recycling.
He travels with some of the Chinese buyers, and writes about how the whole thing works, from your neighborhood scrapyard, to the smelters in China that are remelting ingots of aluminum and copper.
Great book, and it clears up a lot of myths about how the scrap business works.
Here is a link to him giving a one hour synopsis, with photos, of his book. He doesnt come on until about 5 minutes in. https://youtu.be/0RZZL4PQdbo

Most scrapyards in the USA operate on very thin margins, and only make money if they can buy cheap, and sell fast. The longer stuff sits in the yard, the less they make.
 

DanASM

Hot Rolled
Joined
Mar 11, 2019
It works completely differently here. The yard I sell my scrap to is family owned, I have known the family since 95. They also, on the same 10 acres or so, own a new steel distributor, which, I think, makes them more money.

They have no "quotas". They are savvy businessmen, now in 3rd generation ownership, so the may, for example, stockpile an acre of aluminum if they think aluminum prices will go up soon, but largely, they sell through as quickly as possible. Taxes, labor, and the cost of land here are all high, and sitting on a lot of material is a money loser.

they only sell steel and iron to one mill- its pretty much the only buyer within a reasonable distance- the Nucor mill in Seattle. Every week, they send several truckloads to that mill, which buys most of the steel scrap for Washington and Northern Idaho. The next nearest mills are about 6 hours farther, in Northern Oregon. The Nucor mill usually stockpiles several hundred thousand tons of scrap in its yards, as most Nucor mills do.
We (the USA) have not exported significant amounts of steel scrap to China or Japan or Korea in 40 years or more- the vast majority of US scrap steel is made into new US steel.

Non-ferrous, and SS, however, are, indeed, exported. There are a number of buyers, who generally represent middleman processing companies, who travel the USA. It was almost all chinese, for 20 or more years, but the Chinese government has been cracking down on that, and my guess is some of it is going now to Taiwan, Indonesia, and India.
And those guys do, indeed, make regular visits to most US scrapyards, and buy in 40,000lb increments.

There is a great first hand description of how all this works in the book Junkyard Planet, by 3rd generation Minneapolis scrap yard kid Adam Minter, who is now a leading journalist globally on recycling.
He travels with some of the Chinese buyers, and writes about how the whole thing works, from your neighborhood scrapyard, to the smelters in China that are remelting ingots of aluminum and copper.
Great book, and it clears up a lot of myths about how the scrap business works.
Here is a link to him giving a one hour synopsis, with photos, of his book. He doesnt come on until about 5 minutes in. https://youtu.be/0RZZL4PQdbo

Most scrapyards in the USA operate on very thin margins, and only make money if they can buy cheap, and sell fast. The longer stuff sits in the yard, the less they make.

I feel like I have seen videos of the Chinese buyers following the American ones around and outbidding them. It was Brass and Copper mostly that they were after. I guess mostly non ferrous is what they were/are after.
 








 
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