While supply chain issues such as shortages pose many challenges, one benefit has been an increase in scrap metal prices, providing some an easy way to bring in extra money amid the holiday season.

“I had people come in here today and sell pop cans, and they said it was so they can buy stuff for their Thanksgiving dinner,” said Peggy McKee, owner of McKee Auto Parts and Recycling in New Marshfield. “It’s really a good way to make extra money this time of year.”

McKee said prices are up right now, with aluminum as high as she can remember since opening her business in 1986. Currently, McKee said the company is offering 70 cents per pound of aluminum, 20 to 25 cents higher than usual.

According to Waste Dive, driving the increased cost of aluminum is higher demand on the one-hand — due to increases in electric vehicle production, purchases of canned products and craft brewers offering products in cans — as well as short supply on the other, with supply chain difficulties substantially impacting the production of aluminum in China.

Combined with shortages impacting other metals as well, this means recycling scrap metal currently offers a greater benefit both for individuals who sell it and the broader market, said Jane Forrest Redfern, district coordinator of the Athens-Hocking Solid Waste District.

“The more that we can recycle, the more materials we’re putting back into the system to be made into new products,” Redfern said. “Materials are really hard to get right now and they’re very expensive, so let’s take advantage of it and also help ease the materials shortage we have right now.”

In addition to individual and economic benefits, scrap metal recycling benefits the environment too.

“When it goes into the landfill, that much more energy has to be used to get ore out of the earth somewhere else,” said Bruce Underwood, executive director of Athens-Hocking Recycling Centers. “It has a huge impact on climate change and the more we recycle scrap metal, the more we can reduce that.”

While aluminum cans are among the most commonly recycled scrap metal, McKee said other commonly recycled scrap includes old bicycles, appliances such as fridges, tins and cars. McKee added that the company will pick up larger items such as cars from people within a certain radius and offer payment.

“You can recycle almost anything — aluminum, copper — and a lot of people make a living doing this,” McKee said. “It’s a pretty easy process.”

McKee said all that is needed to recycle scrap metal is a valid ID — although even this is not necessary to recycle cans.

McKee Auto Parts and Recycling in Athens County and Michel’s Iron & Metals in Hocking County are two nearby businesses that accept scrap metal.

McKee cautioned that prices fluctuate regularly, meaning the current high prices won’t last forever.

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(1) comment


I think that is 70 cents per pound of aluminum, not per can.

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