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Learn to properly Sort, Sell, and Profit from your electronic scrap material.
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2023 8:19 am 

Joined: Sun May 30, 2021 8:21 pm
Posts: 55

I am looking to hopefully source more scrap related items in the future (to increase my “workload”), and wanted to get some input from this community about where you have had the most success.

I was just seeing if anyone would care to share how you get E-Waste and other scrap related items? Aside from the usual: Craigslist, Offer Up, Dumpster Diving, driving-around, auctions, etc. If these are your primary sources, then please share as well, if you don’t mind.

Do you get a lot of items from just word of mouth? Have you made business cards or fliers, and how do you distribute them? Do you stop by local businesses or do cold calls to see if there is any interest? I know developing contacts and networking is critical (as in any trade/professional/hobby side hustle etc.). Do you always or occasionally pay for items?

I’m essentially trying to gather some ideas about this, to kind of steer me in the right direction.

Currently I mainly get items from : Craigslist (free), Offer Up, Freecycle, word of mouth, some driving around ( I may stop at a location and inquire once in a while – residence or business) or pickup from the curb (trash), etc.


PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2023 5:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:57 pm
Posts: 9665
Location: Low DOS
First, last, middle…
Know your laws!!

Trash: that’s easy. Yep, drive by and pick it up.
Washing machines and dish washers. Big motors
Dryers, copper
Computers are not as common as 20 years ago but you still find them.

Dumpster diving is a difficult legal score. The dumps is legal ground in 99% of the country. But comes with two caveats
First is access, you can legally go into the dumpster but you may need permission to get to it.
The other is inventory/tax control. Some companies write off trash. And if they do the tax laws of the state may prohibit them from allowing you access.
That’s the easy route.

Far more rewarding is your own collection business.
Hire a carpenter or machinist to make you some vertical boxes.
Like collection boxes.

And then talk to local companies about installing them in stores.
This works wonders. Especially if you place a contact number on the side for free pickup of large items.
Just keep in mind you’re going to get a lot of crap you didn’t want. From trash like food and half empty cans of soda, to diapers. Toys, clothing.
You need to pick up often. Companies will quickly dump you if your box is overflowing or smells.
But wonders of what makes it into a free drop off is… a wonder?
Generally you will get a lot of cell phones, gadgets, batteries, light bulbs, and other junk. But computers do show up, most often old laptops.

You’re box will be robbed. Don’t fret it. Just get a new lock.

You will get TVs. Plan for that. And doubly, plan for a call from the location telling you to come get the big 80” DLP out of their walkway. NOW! It will happen!
Light bulbs of all types are controlled. You need to plan to recycle them. Oh, those diapers too. Get a nice brute and and lid you can keep outside for them.

Don’t be an arse. Sign up with a battery company to recycle alkaline batteries.
Many scrap yards will buy rechargeable ones. Including lithium dry cell (AA,AAA,9v)
And a surprising number of steel buyers will purchase alkaline batteries if they’re sorted out. Often at or slightly above construction shred rate. Or even steel shred rate.
Please don’t dump 50lbs of alk in the local trash.

The big thing about self collection is learning recycling streams.
You can sell wood and fibre quite easily with some looking. Great for A/V equipment. And furniture.

Ceramics and clays can be sold to nearly any active quarry. Though most want a few hundred pounds minimum.
If your near an oil refiner, you may have a buyer for liquid capacitors.

Another easy sale in more industrial areas is glass. Be it to remanufacture or to a quarry. More than 70% of our nation’s non-bottle glass winds up in our roads. And they pay for that.

Nothing man can make cannot be unmade. You just need to look.

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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2023 8:54 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:42 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Troy, NY
As far as logistics go, and I've been saying this on this forum for 10 years, you want to be as close to free as possible. When you're dealing in scrap, which is already the lowest value possible, it's where you need to be to make anything on your end.
There are folks that pay for things at auction. Most times, if you are bidding on computer equipment, you will not get a good deal, so do the math and set a limit in advance. Goes without saying you may be able to find an odd lot for cheap, but don't count on it.
I started with a van and some cards, combing the streets on trash day, asking places if they needed things gone. This is totally viable, depending on where you live, the larger the city the better it will be for you. Greater Chicago has 5 million people with old computer junk to get rid of, rural Pensyltucky might have 1000 people who never owned a computer to begin with.
I have a legitimate recycling business now and stuff just comes in. All you really have to do is let it be known you take computer stuff and it will come to you. If you live in a state without a whole lot of regulation (the south and midwest) companies will give you stuff if you offer a free service and they will save money in the process. I also hold municipality wide/county wide events, it's an easy way to fill a 26' truck at a minimum, if you have the capacity for it.
Also, check computer repair shops in your area. To this day, the shops in my area are the best source for volume, for obvious reasons. It may not be pretty, but it's stuff.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2023 2:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2022 9:54 am
Posts: 21
Location: NE Ohio
I have done some calculated bidding on surplus medical devices. My rule of thumb on all of this is that I never pay or bid higher then .10 cents a pound (essentially the shred price). So if an item weighs 100 pounds I won't bid higher than $10 on it.

I figure after this price, plus any other fees and my time & transport hassles I need to get it for no more than the shred price of taking it to a yard and kicking it off the truck if I don't want it (or don't want to tear it down).

This has allowed me to stay in the money most of the time. It also helps to know the products too and have seen them beforehand.

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