The Scrapper Economy Transforming shopping into an experience

How We Got Started

It all started in high school, when a friend and I came across a piece of aluminum diamond plate on the side of the road. We knew what it was, picked it up and took it to the local recycler. They weighed it and paid us an amount that we thought was a king's fortune:) And the rest as they say, is history because we were forever infected with the scrapper bug.

 Then in our 20s, we started a moving company and soon learned about the universe of stuff that can be easily had for next to nothing.  Especially, when customers would call us to move their stuff… to the dump. It was unusual, we would get calls from people who would buy foreclosures, have a recent life change because of a death in the family or who would just evict a tenant and would have a bunch of stuff for us to take to the dump and let me tell you: there is no end in sight to the amount of stuff that we Americans will toss.  Some of the stuff that I have chucked would make a grown man cry but for lack of space and little knowledge in the beginning of some of the stuff that we came across, more often than not, we would end up tossing it. We felt bad but it was either tossing it or having to live with it and there was so much of it. Literally, mountains of treasure. Every time I would talk to a customer I would often remark, “Look around you, at one time or another, I will have the privilege of tossing all of it.”  Sure, it was a bit strange to say but what was stranger was that it was actually pretty much all true. There is so much stuff in our lives that there is no end to it and in our society pretty much everything is disposable. Who ever said that, “Nothing is certain, except for death and taxes,” was wrong. What he should have said was,”Nothing is certain except death, taxes and stuff.” The dump became pretty much our second home and our school of life.

But over the years and millions of pounds chucked into the dump, we realized that we were throwing away a goldmine in easily resaleable stuff which often exceeded in value than the amount we were getting paid to throw it away.  In other words, that Pottery Barn bunk bed was worth $500 in resale while we were getting paid about $150 to toss it. Or that pallet racking that we dumped in the metal pile was worth about $2000 in resale vs. the $250 we were paid to haul it away.  We even were hired once to throw away an entire English sterling silver tea service complete with cups and kettle and all of the stuff that went with it - and all made of silver!

Often contractors would call us to remove materials or demolition and there would be a goldmine in copper pipes, romex wire, steel, and brass fittings. And let me tell you, there is nothing more exciting than walking into the home of an executive with one of the local software companies, who is about to move to a new city,  and being told to get rid of everything in the house - down to the carpet and drapes. This happened to us a couple of times and the incredible amount of high value stuff was actually annoying us because we knew we couldn’t just toss it but on the other hand we didn’t have enough space to store it and out it went again! Incredible stuff like an entire gym full of professional Hoist Fitness Systems exercise equipment, Marantz stereo equipment, all kinds of kitchenware like high end knives, dishes and cups, tools galore, odd stuff like maritime equipment and hobbies outgrown, clothing from Macys and Nordstroms and Bloomingdales. (By the way, I’ve never really had to buy clothing for myself, lol) And the list went on.  But what do you do with all of it? Especially, when you’re getting paid by the pound to toss it? Yes, that’s right, we would often toss it. Don’t hate us - we made a mint but we also dumped a mint and it got to us.

So we changed our pricing model to allow for situations where we encountered valuable resaleable stuff and thus learned how to get paid coming and going.  Sometimes, we would even get hired to move dirt and would sell it (delivered) for far cheaper than the local sand and gravel yards. It was funny, we got paid to remove it and got paid to deliver it! Don’t knock it - people need dirt for all kinds of reasons and we had tons of it.  The secret to making money in dirt was in planning and marketing our job in advance and knowing where we would dump it off.

  We wisened up.  Most of the items that were in good condition we would sell on different forums like Ebay, Craigslist or at garage sales and most of the metals we came across, we learned to recycle and get top dollar for.  That involved cutting lead solder off the ends of copper pipes, removing the glass and caulk from aluminum windows, stripping plastic from the romex to get at the shiny copper wire and often removing wire and transformers from broken electronics and appliances to sell to the scrap yard.  That’s when we learned that stripping wire will yield you far more in profits, pound for pound, than just taking it in with the plastic coating still attached and here we are. Among our many businesses that are associated somehow or another with the waste stream of the USA, we started this website to sell the tools necessary to process the metal that inevitably will go through our garbage someday.  And let me tell you, money is everywhere if you know where to look for it. And when you find it, hopefully you will find our tools handy in processing it, to yield you the maximum amount of value for the stuff you have. If you read this far, you’re just like me, and congratulations you have the scrapper bug, so come join me in the scrapper economy.