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Can You Really Make Money from Recycled Keys? My 130lb Experiment!

In a world where the phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle" has become a rallying cry for environmentalists and cost-cutters alike, one day we ventured into the unknown with a hefty 130 pounds of keys and brass shavings. The goal? To find out if you can turn the byproducts of locksmithing into cold, hard cash. Spoiler alert: the journey was as bumpy as picking a high-security lock, but the outcome? Well, let's just say it might unlock more than a few doors for savvy locksmiths.

The Experiment Begins

PJ embarked on this journey with a mountain of brass shavings and keys, only to face an early setback. Despite painstaking efforts to sort the shavings, they were rejected by recyclers. Brass shavings, it seems, have become the locksmith equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack, except the needle is steel shavings, and the haystack is your potential profit.

What Went Wrong?

  • Rejected Brass Shavings: After years of successful recycling, our PJ's brass shavings were turned away. The twist? This batch had the most effort put into its preparation.
  • The Magnetic Revelation: A friend's magnet offered a glimmer of hope in separating steel from brass shavings, revealing an unexpected truth - steel shavings were mixed in, suggesting some steel keys had been cut unknowingly.

The Key Insight

Disheartened but not defeated, PJ turned hos attention to the main stars of the show: brass keys. Unlike the brass shavings, these proved to be the golden ticket. With temperatures dropping to a chilly -6° (no jacket, no problem), PJ hauled 130 pounds of keys to the recycler, guessing the payout would be around $120 to $160.

The Result?

  • Surprise Profit: The total weight of keys netted a cool $247, surpassing expectations and proving that recycling keys is not just viable but profitable.

Key Takeaways for Locksmiths

  • Brass Shavings vs. Keys: While the market for brass shavings is finicky, requiring them to be free of steel contamination, keys remain a reliable source of recycling revenue.
  • No Extra Cost Recycling: Attempting to recycle without incurring additional costs is a noble but challenging endeavor. PJ's experiment underscores the importance of efficient sorting methods.
  • Market Fluctuations: The value of recycled materials can vary, highlighting the need for locksmiths to stay informed about current prices and recycling standards.

Final Thoughts

So, can you really make money from recycled keys? Absolutely. While the journey might involve some trial and error (and possibly braving the cold without a jacket), the payoff can be surprisingly rewarding. For locksmiths, this experiment serves as a reminder that amidst the cuttings and shavings of their daily work lies a potential source of extra income.

  • Can brass shavings be recycled?

    • Yes, but with a catch. They must be free of steel contamination to be accepted.
  • Is recycling keys profitable?

    • Yes, recycling keys can be quite profitable, as demonstrated by a $247 gain from 130 pounds of keys.
  • What should locksmiths do with miscut keys?

    • Recycle them! Ensure they're free of plastic and add them to your recycling bin for some extra cash.

Remember, every key turned incorrectly is a lesson in locksmithing, and as it turns out, every miscut key is a potential coin in your pocket. So, the next time you find yourself with a pile of keys or shavings, remember: there's gold in them thar hills... or at least a few extra dollars in your wallet.

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