Five Tips for a Successful Scrap Metal Fundraiser

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A scrap metal fundraiser literally turns other people's trash into your treasure. The following can help your fundraiser be a success.

1. Choose Your Location

You need a large open area where people can easily drive up and drop off their metal donations. Some recyclers will allow you to set up right on their lot, which makes it quite easy. Others either won't have the space or can't allow it due to other reasons, so you will need to secure a large area, such as a parking lot. Look for large parking lots that usually aren't open on Saturdays, since this is the time for most donation drives. A school or church may grant you permission.

2. Secure a Transportation Method

If the collection point isn't at the recycling center, then you will need to figure out how you will transport the metal. The least expensive way is to have people with large trucks or trailers donate their time and vehicle for collection. Otherwise, you can rent a large trailer or even a dumpster to cart the metal. The recycler may also provide a collection bin or trailer for your use, either free or for a small fee.

3. Pick Your Metals

Work with your recycler to determine what types of metal and items you should collect. Generally, the greatest profit is found from ferrous metals and copper. Ferrous metals contain iron and include such things as steel and cast iron. They are also magnetic. Many appliances and other durable household metal items are made of ferrous steel. Other metals you may collect include aluminum, but these are usually reserved for can drives instead of scrap metal drives.

4. Sort Properly

You will need a volunteer team on duty to help sort the metals if you are collecting more than one type. This makes it easier for the recyclers — in fact, many won't accept unsorted metals. Give each volunteer a strong magnet to use. This way they can check items to verify that they are made of ferrous metal, which makes the collection and sorting much easier.

5. Skip Problem Metals

Don't take any metal item if your recycler doesn't accept it; otherwise, you will end up having to deal with disposal. For example, some recyclers do not accept old refrigerators or air conditioning units because it is too much of a hassle to properly dispose of the old refrigerant. Electronics should also be turned away since these are too time-consuming to sort metals from.

Contact a ferrous steel recycling center to learn more.