Demands drive scrap metal prices up

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

MARMADUKE, AR (KAIT) --Turning trash into treasure...or at least into cash!

With scrap metal supplies down...demand is up. And so, too are prices.

Nearly 70-percent since last year, according to a trade publication.

"You make more cars, you gotta have more metal. You make more refrigerators you gotta have more metal." With the magnet on the track hoe crashing in the background and cutting torches destroying a payloader all in the background, WW Recycling Manager Ted Thurman explained to me why the demand for raw scrap is up.

It was a typical day outside Marmaduke at the WW Recycling yard.

Thurman said it's all about economics. "When prices go up people start hauling a lot."

And with the weather getting better as well. People start hauling it in. Load after load.

Thurman, "30, 40, 50, just depends on the weather."

According to Steve Solomon who writes for Recycling Today Magazine, the demand for scrap domestically is going to be good this year; better than other years. Solomon says this is a positive economic sign. Even the demand for aluminum is going strong.

Piles of cleaned aluminum sit in a bin ready for shipping and bags of cans were being ran through a crusher and loaded on a semi trailer.

Thurman, "Lot of aluminum cans, we buy lots and lots of aluminum cans." Cans that are worth about 65 cents a pound.

All around the yard there are materials and trailers waiting to be sorted and shipped out to processors. But the yard isn't as full as it could be. And the piles aren't as large as they could be.

Thurman says their piles aren't very big because they don't keep their inventory around very long because people need it.

"Daily, we ship daily. You have to with the volume , we get such a volume in you have to keep it moved or you'll be covered up..."

Even as we were speaking 2 trucks arrived to unload from the Kennett recycling yard. Piles of tin roofing, refrigerators and everything in between. I am pretty sure I saw a kitchen sink.

One of the more common loads that come in is what Ted calls short iron. Short pieces of steel that will get you around 12 bucks for a hundred pounds.

Steve Shaver brought in a load from the Promise Land Farm shop. They had been cutting all week during the rain.

Shaver, "It's just stuff we have laying around the shop that's been discontinued that there not using any more. So we just cut it up and make some money. Make the shop look better, make the property look better."

WW doesn't recycle any kind of electronic stuff at all but just about everything else has a place around the yard.

Thurman, "It's mostly steel, copper, aluminum, brass, car bodies."

Thurman says they have been going strong really all year. I asked him though with all this coming in isn't the supply running low?

"You know you would think that but looking out here it's still coming I don't know where it all comes from."

Thurman continues;

"Washers, dryers refrigerators,old equipment. farm equipment stuff like that. It just varies you know."

In today's economy it seems like this business is being green, making green, spreading the green to start the process all over again.

Thurman, "Recycling is great, turn the old into the new. "

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