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How To Recycle

October 27, 2015
Despite popular belief, only a small percentage of merchandise found in a storage unit resells for a profit.

Average about 80% of the contents in a locker lacks monetary value. Calculate that only 20% of merchandise yields a profit.

Cost about $25-$150 (per ton) to dump trash into your city’s landfill. Add that number to the cost of the locker, taxes, and any premium fees charged by the facility. Rethink and use a bit of imagination to recycle and reap a profit despite the trash you find.


Scrap metal yards and recycling plants process scrap metals. They sell that product to steel mills and aluminum melters.

Common type of metals: Ferrous and Nonferrous.

Ferrous sticks to a magnet, such as steel or iron. Non-ferrous more valuable and does not stick to a magnet. Non-ferrous includes copper, aluminum, brass, stainless steel and bronze.

 Non-ferrous Ferrous
Aluminum Cans/Pots/Pans Small Appliances
Automobile Batteries Major Appliances
Aluminum Cans/Siding/Gutters/Downspouts Automobiles
Automobile Batteries Cast Iron Patio Furniture
Bicycles Cast Iron Outdoor Railing
Brass Faucets/Lamps/Decorative Items Farm Machinery
Bicycles Lawn Mowers
Cable, Fence and Wire Sheet Metal
Christmas Lights Steel Wheels
Copper and Brass Steel
Electric Motors - ceiling fans, old drills and saws  
Insulated Wire  
Screen Doors Window Frames  
Stainless Steel (kitchen sinks)  
TV Cable  

Shortage supply of copper in the US makes this the most valuable scrap metal to recycle for cash. Copper tone a reddish color if it is in good condition. When worn, copper`s hues a darker brown color with some green rusted areas.

Copper found in pipes, plumbing materials, parts of a water heater, older appliances, electronics, roofing materials, televisions, computers, and so on.

Brass a combination of copper and zinc holds the next highest value. Found in hardware like keys, door handles, light fixtures and bathroom fixtures.

Aluminum most recycled for cash. Also found in gutters, siding, window frames, doors, and so much more.

Steel the least valued as this material used world-wide. Better however to recycle for cash than to throw it away as trash.


Companies reuse, recover and recycle many types of electronics scraps. Benefits you to recoup as much money as you can to turn a profit; plus it benefits the planet.

“Approximately 220 million tons of E-Waste is generated annually in the U.S. According to the EPA, recycling just one computer and one monitor is the equivalent to preventing 1.35 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from being released. The recycling of one television prevents four to eight pounds of lead from being added to the waste stream.”

What is considered electronic scrap?

Computers, monitors, hard drives, processors, keyboard & mouse, circuit boards, computer towers, RAM, scanners, fax machines, cell phones, telephones, printers, televisions, stereos, CD players, DVD players, VSH players, LCD screens, CRT monitors, printer cartridges, tablets, laptops, calculators, copy machines, cameras, routers, radios, video equipment, and so on.

Florescent Light Bulbs And Ballasts

Recycle bulbs, compact fluorescent, high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, U-shaped bulbs, circular bulbs, PCB ballasts and Non-PCB ballasts, UV lamps, and more.


Estimated that about 95% of US citizens have community access to curbside recycling or drop-off paper recycling programs. Paper doesn’t weigh much and the per ton rate is somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-$75.

Newspaper, flyers, magazines, cereal boxes, cardboard, phone books, books, scrap paper, file folders, envelopes, tissue boxes, office paper, color paper, junk mail, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, unwaxed food packaging, liquid cartons (milk or juice), pizza boxes (no grease or wax), brown paper bags, shoe boxes and gift boxes.


You cannot recycle broken glass. Otherwise, you can recycle all color glass bottles or jars, clear glass, clear glass food containers, wine and beer bottles.


According to the Can Manufacturers Institute, a single aluminum can is worth between one and two cents. You`ll need about 25 aluminum cans to equal 1 pound of aluminum. This is a nonferrous material. Place a magnet on the top or sides of the can. If it sticks, it isn’t aluminum; if it doesn’t stick, then it is aluminum. You can also find aluminum in car and boat parts, household utensils, foil pie plates, baking foils, lawn furniture and skiing equipment.


Approximately eight million metric tonnes of waste plastic filter into the oceans every year. Plastic not normally biodegradable. Save the planet and recoup your money.

The plastic bottles used to hold water, soda, salad dressing, peanut butter and jam can be recycled for cash at many recycling centers. Look for a "Type 1" marking on the bottom of the bottle. Worth about $500 a ton. Bottles marked "Type 2," which include hard plastic milk, five gallon water jugs, water pipes, hula-hoop rings, laundry detergent, bleach, motor oils and shampoo bottles can net $800 a ton.

Plastic types 3-7 a bit more difficult to recycle. Check underneath the plastic item you find inside your storage auction unit for the recycling number.


Items that cannot be recycled include: Paint cans, polystyrene (Styrofoam, packing materials, ice coolers, food containers), alkaline batteries, most cell phone batteries, polyethylene (coffee cups lined with this), paper towels, wax paper, napkins, wrapping paper, bubble wrapped boxes, motor oil cans, mirrors, ceramic and crystal.

First stockpile your scrap and when ready, find a recycling center near you and recycle your trash and turn it into cash.

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