Out of the 95 metallic elements on the periodic table, aluminum (Al) is the most abundant. The Earth’s crust is comprised of roughly 8.1% of aluminum by mass, and it’s the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon. But what is the value of a pound of aluminum?
You can receive between $0.12 and $0.90 per pound of aluminum scrap. The exact price per pound depends on the condition of the scrap metal and what form it comes in.
In today’s guide, I’ll speak about the price range for aluminum scrap, why dealers will pay for the metal scrap, and why people are willing to steal aluminum.
How Much Is a Pound of Aluminum?
The price of aluminum per pound fluctuates due to a number of different causes. As such, the prices today may not be the same as the prices you’ll see tomorrow. As of writing this guide, the price dollar amount per pound of aluminum ranges from $0.12 to $0.90. Please note that these figures are not what scrapyards will receive for their stock.
Based on the iScrap app, the exact prices per pound of aluminum pieces are as follows:
|Type of Aluminum||Price per Pound|
|Dirty Aluminum Turnings||$0.12|
|Electric Motors (Aluminum)||$0.20|
|Aluminum Engine Block||$0.24|
|Insulated Aluminum Wire||$0.30|
|Aluminum Diesel Tank||$0.40|
|Aluminum Wire with Steel||$0.40|
|Old Sheet Aluminum||$0.48|
|Aluminum Lithograph Plates||$0.90|
What Are the Most Common Aluminum Scrap Types?
If you need to earn a few extra bucks, you might want to sell old aluminum to recycling plants or metal scrapyards. These are the most common types of aluminum scrap you might come upon.
Beverage cans are made of aluminum alloy, which can contain up to 99% aluminum. Due to their high aluminum content, you can get a pretty good price per pound. Just make sure to rinse and crush the can before selling it.
This refers to any type of aluminum that may have other materials—e.g., rubber, steel bolts, plastic—adhered to it. Recycling plants have to put in more manhours to get rid of the impure substances, which reduces their price per pound.
If you come across insulated cables with silver wires inside them, that’s most likely aluminum. Whether it’s pure aluminum or aluminum with steel, you can get a pretty good price for it.
Most car and truck rims made today are cast from aluminum alloy. Depending on their impurity content, aluminum rims might also fall into the dirty aluminum or cast aluminum categories.
Why Do Dealers Pay for Aluminum Scrap?
Simply put, aluminum is the most recyclable material. Up to 98% of the aluminum used in manufacturing can be recycled, which means that virtually any piece of aluminum scrap you have on hand can be exchanged for a few cents.
Considering that the cost to reprocess aluminum scrap into new products is only 5% of the cost of creating aluminum from raw ore, it should be pretty evident why scrapyards are willing to pay for old aluminum cans, sheets, wires, etc.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Recycling Aluminum?
Not really. The only disadvantages are there for the recycling plants that have to separate it from steel and other impurities and debris.
As for the person who wants to sell aluminum to dealers, they will have to pay close attention to the fluctuating prices. That means that making a return on their investment/efforts might require sitting on a pile of aluminum until prices rise. Generally speaking, the price per pound of aluminum scrap will increase based on demand trends.
Do People Steal Aluminum?
Unfortunately, yes. Aluminum is among one of the many non-ferrous metals—e.g., copper, brass, and bronze—that people will take in the hopes of making a dishonest buck. Some of the highest victims of aluminum theft are cookware manufacturers and beer keg makers, though some thieves aren’t afraid of breaking into people’s homes and stealing decorative panels and other aluminum items.
The main motivation for stealing aluminum is money. As this guide has shown, you can earn quite a bit of money if you hand in a large pile of aluminum, which is pretty lightweight for its volume. In addition, simple household items containing aluminum are virtually impossible to trace, which makes them a prime target for thieves.