Recycle: for Supplemental Income.




About: My full time job as an Organ Grinder keeps me pretty busy but that's just small change. My part time work, as a Mohel, keeps me up to date on my student loans from UCLSD.

  I've been out of work a long time and ANY extra cash is welcome.  I never have much of a problem with money, but just working off of Craig's List is a drag with the all competition in this town.
  Living here in The Valley of The Sun (Phoenix, Az) recycling is not a popular venture unless you are AWAKE at 2-4 in the morning.   My garbage company does not even offer a recycle bin for pick-up.  I guess this should come as no surprise living in The Valley of:  fast food, SUV s, pawn shops, and foreclosure.
  I do EVERYTHING on a bicycle and trailer.  There is a lot of planing that goes into my travel.  I also keep track of stuff I see and go back to get things, or I will be late everyplace I go.
  What I recycle is not always easy.  Its the low end stuff, and it takes a few days of collection to take in a $20-$30 load. 
  The best part is, I always have quick cash in the back yard, excluding Sundays.  Generally I recycle similar items at the same time and I don't kill myself leaving the house.......I save that for getting there!
  The only thing I don't recycle is iron.  I have a friend that I tell places I see iron at.  He then goes and gets it with a truck.  In turn, he gives me all the bikes he gets.

Step 1: CANS

  The "bread and butter" of any honest recycling effort.  As far as aluminum goes it is worth the most and is generally plentiful.  I keep track of  "tramp camps", teenage drinking spots, and most of all, I check the washes after a rain (sad but true).   I also have my "regulars" who are kind enough to collect a bit and call me. 

Step 2: Extruded Aluminum

The picture here is of tubing.  There are many common uses of this.  More than I can list.  Lets just say from window frames to a Febreeze aerosol can, extruded aluminum is everywhere.

Step 3: Aluminum Wire

For a contractor its not worth the time to pay a person to strip it.  Yes, it is hard to strip and just sucks in general to do so.

Step 4: .....more Aluminum

Aluminum is everywhere!  There are several grades and they are all taken.  Just try not to recycle good bike parts........please.

Step 5: Brass

  This is a picture of an ornamental light switch cover and some hose bibs I found attached to washing machine hoses.
  This is actually 2 different types of brass but you get the

Step 6: Copper Tubing

This I do not get all that much, but its out there.  This was found rolled up attached to a discarded swamp cooler.

Step 7: Insulated Copper Wire

All wire housing needs to be stripped away.  It is common stuff and easy to find.  This is a cord off of a vacuum cleaner and some thermostat wire that was the end of a roll.

Step 8: Stripped Wire

Here in Arizona it is illegal to strip and sell wire.  All this is "cut off pieces". 

Step 9: Automotive Batteries

Heavens yes they are HEAVY!  I almost hate it when i see one.  This is when I pull the "green card" and tell myself its for the environment as much as myself.

Step 10: Elecrtic Motors

Fairly easy to find but also heavy and come in all sizes.

Step 11: Before You Cash In....

  Call around and check prices!  Do not be fooled by coupons, a clean operation, or a smile!  It is hard to know your recyclers but their business is open to question......and do so.   Just because its a non-profit organization means nothing. 
  It is a standard practice to add different items on the scale as you take a weight.  Check the individual totals to see if  the actual weight you got  was the same told to you. 
  It is common not get a receipt.  At least look his (or notebook) over to see if its legit bookkeeping.  He could be robbing you AND his boss.  One more thing about a receipt........just because its CASH......and there is no ID taken......a receipt is usually available on request for your own "records".
  Finally, you will encounter drug users. DO NOT BE SCARED. The one time you can get a doper to be honest, is with a scale!            Good Luck

Step 12:

  Fortunately, I do not have a  junk yard out back.  Other than a few buckets, an occasional aluminum rim, some stainless pots or pans, or a radiator, I keep my mess low.  The big mess is to strip wire, but it pays!   
   It seems I make money of other people waste.  Huge waste and I see no end to it anytime soon. 
Will we ever learn?



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    11 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Onrust, it sounds like that law is similar to one in Indiana, where it is against the law for a minor to posses alcohol or buy it....they could drink it, but they were not allowed to have it in their possession. if they were caught "under the influence", that was considered possessing the alcohol & were arrested. I heard they changed the wording of the law, but as of January 2011, it was still in force.

    Now, About the Instructable...

    You have given me some great ideas as I am on a fixed income & do not have a motor car of any kind. For that Sir, I thank you, & I wish you well. I enjoy reading your stuff. TY Sir.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    At the time I made this plastic was not as popular in my area. There seems to be a good plastic demand......finally!


    8 years ago on Step 12

    I don't get it; in one frame you say it's illegal to strip wire and sell it, but in the last frame you comment that stripping wire is messy.  I'm in Arizona too, and wondering what can I do.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Step 12

      There is a law in Arizona that says you cannot strip and sell copper wire.
    It is a law that was put in place to prevent the theft of wire.  Having said that, it comes into contradiction every time I turn around.
      Scrap yards do not buy wire with outside housing on it, such as the 3 strand wire your house or the cord off of the vacuum in the instructable.  BUT, when you strip the housing off to get to the 2 individual insulated wires, you are left with a bare ground makes no sense to me.  I then take the ground wire and cut it up into 3-4 inch long pieces, as if they where "cut offs" from installation.  When I go to sell my "cut offs" I get laughed at but I do not care to explain to a cop why I have full length stripped copper wire.
      The law is a total joke.  Just the other day I saw a guy sell 298 lbs of stripped wire.  This homeboy was no electrician.  There was no question or ID taken only $596 cash given.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I used to see copper wire in the dumpsters near office buildings all the time. Then as the price went up. I found only the aluminium romex sheath. Nowadays, I don't even see that (although you can still get all the electrical boxes and outlets and switches you want, mixed in with the drywall and steel studding)

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Back when the price was up, I could install a water service on a new 2 story house during the day and it was gone in the morning,  people in Scottsdale had bronze statues (in their yards) cut off at the feet,  wire was pulled out of the HUGE light poles in the parks,  and when school started up again there were several schools without water or AC due to theft of copper.
    Its bad here and always has been.  With this economy, price doesn' t even matter.  The biggest company growth now in Phoenix is patrolled security service.   Sad, and it may get worse!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    You have the best source in the world all around you. The foreclosure crisis has a lot of people doing property preservation, in other words property clean out. I am one of them and work in Florida. I have about 10 recycling people I call to give yes give the scrap to. The only thing I wish those desiring to recycle metals etc would do is to learn more about the things they are working with, for instance you mention the cords off of appliances etc, you have no idea how frustrating it is to have someone in need coming to pick up vacuum cleaners or microwave ovens that work perfectly only to find someone has cut off all the cords!! Now there are several pieces of true junk! So if you really want to be a recycler do it wisely, learn about the other things you can do with things other than go straight to the scrap yard. Good luck and hopefully we can all work together to make this turn around.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

      If I find the top half of a shop vacuum in a dumpster and recycle the motor and cord how is that causing a problem or frustration to someone else?
      I understand your complaint and it is a huge problem here in Arizona. This instructable is in no way a guide to trespass, steal, or vandalize household appliances.
      Maybe instead of giving yes giving the scrap away you could use that money on the security issues FOR the properties you are preserving.  SO if you really want to benefit from this foreclosure crisis, do it wisely and don't waste the resources at hand.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    WOW, that makes fast work of any wire.  The music was so good I watched it twice.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    When i find an aluminum rim that is really wonky i use a pair of bolt cutters to nip the intersection of the spokes.  The hub drops out and the ends of the spokes fall out of the rim.

    I also have found a cordless reciprocating saw works great for aluminum bike frames when you have stubborn (and non-reusable) steel parts.  Seems that all of the Walmart full suspension bikes are like this.

    This is a good introduction into scrapping!