Why Vacant Houses Lose Metals

Scrap Metal Receipt - 2013-02
Scrap Metal Receipt – 2013-02

This receipt from a recent trip to the scrap metal dealer explains everything I’ve read about what happens when “cheap commodities” become “precious metals”…

That having been the case for some years, the weighman now scans your (well, my) drivers license to establish traceability in the event the metal turns out to be stolen, with your ID printed on the receipt. The receipt turns into cash at a fortress-like ATM structure out front, far from the actual metal-handling operation.

Despite having a computerized metal scale below what looks to be a cable modem bolted to the wall of the small-lot bay, EMR has no web presence whatsoever. That’s not yet a crime, but …

Some explanations:

  • B241 = brass plumbing fittings, chrome OK
  • CABL1 = house wiring and other copper-heavy cable
  • CABL2 = electronic gadget cables & connectors
  • C273 = pure copper with no fittings or solder, no enameled wire
  • C275 = copper bonded to any other metal or coated with insulation

We immediately converted those two Grants into a tank of gas and two bags of groceries, so the day came out about even.

5 thoughts on “Why Vacant Houses Lose Metals

  1. Last time I sold copper wire, there was a substantial penalty for insulated wire. Looks better now. This was a 500 foot length of 3 #8 cables with a #10 ground wire for a power feed to the barn–miswired with a swapped ground/neutral, and only using one phase at a subpanel. Got a chunk of money for that, and it was well worth the time to get the insulation off. Better yet was the 200A service to the barn that replaced it.

    We’ve had registration for a while–too many meth-heads will steal copper or aluminum irrigation pipe and try to sell it. Even appliances will bring in enough money to make it worth the 40 miles-to-town to get rid of a washing machine. Too bad they won’t sell used motors. Liability issues, alas.

    1. well worth the time to get the insulation off

      If I’d known the rates going in, I’d have cut a lot closer to the sweated fittings on those pipes, that’s for sure…

  2. Use extreme caution in my state. You must get a permit from the Sheriff to even transport copper now. Say you got stopped for any reason and you have a scrap of copper or non-ferrous material, you could be arrested on the spot even if you could prove it’s your own material. http://www.abcnews4.com/story/15204047/berkeley-issuing
    They even updated it again recently to be even more strict requiring a permanent permit.

      1. I doubt it, but it’s another revenue source. No permits required in Oregon–we have battles over things like studded snow tires (unpopular in the warm west side, popular-to-essential in the lightly populated east side). Of course, now they want us to buy permits for the studs. [sigh]

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