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October Ferrous Pricing Taking a Nose Dive

Good morning recyclers of the region,


Its appears that leaves are not the only things falling this autumn.  Ferrous prices are joining our leafy friends in the decent as prices continue to trickle down, as they have for the past calendar year.


If you have been reading my commentary, you will know the main culprits of pricing pressure on steel has been the lack of export due to the tariffs that the US administration has placed on incoming steel and more recently the chipping away of prices for new steel due to a poor orders from service centres and other mill customers.


This month, we have the added challenge of capacity being taken out of the market due to mill outages for ‘routine’ maintenance and the recent GM strike.  The GM strike should not be understated, as I have been told that GM alone consumes around 35,000 NT of steel a month in the US and Canada.  Then you add their tiered suppliers to the mix – that is a lot of material not being consumed with no where else to go!


As you can read in the articles attached, with 13 mills out of the month and the remaining consumers taking reduced orders this month – some significantly reducing their buys from the prior month.  The net effect of the demand being removed from the market is that Detroit mills have entered the market taking orders down $35/GT on grades (heavy melt and plate) and $40/GT on prime materials, we are anticipating declines along similar lines.


What this means is that we are going to experience yet again, another severe price drop for our ferrous scrap metal that we are generating.  And based on what my instinct tells me, we likely will not see a meaningful rebound in pricing for some time, as inventories are building up across many yards due to reduced mill orders and a challenging environment for recyclers to market their scrap into.


We expect the October market to come out early to mid next week and we will have more clarity on our markets and scrap metal credits for you at that point. 


This is not the first challenging cycle in our over 100 year history and we have experienced and we will continue to ensure that our customers get the best value for their scrap that they are generating. 


If you have any questions about your recycling program or market questions in general, please feel free to reach out.





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Commitment to Community: The FoodBank of Waterloo Region

Hello Everyone!


As a local company, we are always wanting to give back to the community in which we live. The FoodBank of Waterloo Region is a fantastic organization that does tremendous work for the community and it is one that we are proud to help support. With 3 meals being provided for every $1 donated, the FoodBank help support more than 34,000 people in the community. They help fight food insecurity and make sure families who are in need, can access the help they need. In 2004 alone, they helped distrubute 3.1 million pounds of food to 63 programs to assist 23,5000 people. 



We are glad to be a part of such positive change and such a great organization!




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Bloomberg - Copper Sends a Message to Markets That Growth Is Already Wrecked

Good afternoon all!


Given all the trade talk and economic news in the air over the past week, I thought that I would send a note on how commodities are fairing with this news.


As I’m sure that you have noticed on your scrap metal credits of recent, market pricing is declining from several months back.  Naturally, I have sent along some information detailing the price movements, however, this article below paints picture on how metal pricing is now a leading indicator on our economic fortune (or lack there of).  And more soberly, as a metal trader once told me – ‘the trend is your friend’ – and this trend seems to be bearish.


Interestingly, not all scrap metal pricing has been bearish over the past quarter, however, base metal prices have been declining for the better part of the year.  More interesting to me, at least, is that the decline has been broad based – not specific to one commodity.


The same culprits of mill demand, lack of export market, tariffs and trade wars have been a staple of the causes.  However, it now seems to be that global growth is also playing its part in weakening commodity pricing.  It is hard to appreciate a slowing global economy from the perspective of what is happening in the Waterloo Region.  But outside our bubble, there seems to be more and more pockets of slowing growth and demand and this is trickling down into base metal pricing.  They don’t call copper the “Doctor’ for nothing. 


I felt that this article is worth sharing because it is one of the first articles that I have reviewed that is tying in base metal pricing to our wider economy.  It is not fear mongering – but educational and does a really good job in an efficient way of explaining what is going on.  I would read this article for what it is – a good analysis of the theory meeting our reality of business – and what is happening out there is affecting all businesses equally. 


I hope that you enjoyed your long weekends (if you got one) – we certainly did.  I think that August has gotten a lot more interesting….


Naturally, if you have any questions or concerns about the market and how it may affect your scrap metal stream, please don’t hesitate to give me a call or an e-mail. 




Amichai Tsarfati, CPA, CA

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Raising Awareness for Prostate Cancer at Grand River-Hospital

One of our core values is supporting the community in which we raise our children and live our lives while having fun at the same time! We have been fortunate to be able to team up with CHYM in order to pull together this great event! The Father Daughter ball is a great community building event and this year alone, we managed to raise more than $30,000 for prostate cancer research at Grand River Hospital. 




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Scrap Chat - Market Analysis

Good morning everyone,


Given the recent trade spat between China and the US over the past weekend with their renewed vigor to tax, I mean tariff, their citizens, I thought that I would shed some light on our metals market.  In addition, to share some trends that we are seeing with our client base and discussions with other yards in our region.


General Trends


We are seeing what I think is a cyclical slowdown in automotive production and this, I believe, is having a major impact on the large sector of our manufacturing space that relying on the automotive market.  We are seeing the impact on the high level by looking to our stock market (re: Magna just has a huge hit to their earnings) and the dealer incentives to move cars (impacting Honda and Toyota’s recent earnings).  However, our manufacturing economy is larger than ‘just’ automotive.


I think what we are seeing is that the market is healthy, but not growing at the pace economist had predicted over the past few quarters.  We are seeing healthy volumes of scrap come through our facilities and our consumers are telling us that they have no problems filling orders – so I don’t think we have a supply problem – and thereby a healthy manufacturing base.  I think that we are seeing an area where mills have purchased enough supply to meet their needs for their foreseeable quarter or two and are moving to a buy when I need it mentality – and at the price I want to pay. 


We are seeing this play out with mills with our consumers cutting their buys or of other mills reducing their buys, putting more scrap in the market.  One thing that we have spoken about here in the past is the lack of export market to relieve this pressure, due to the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.   The de-facto result of the tariffs is creating a captive market where North American mills can decide the quality and quantity without concern of losing their flow of scrap metal feedstock. 


So as the article I have attached from a recent AMM report on stainless notes – “The bloom is off the rose…”.  This reality is not excluded to just nickel stainless, but we are seeing it across the board.


Pricing Trends


What we believe we are seeing here is a healthy cyclical process with the addition of tariff’s making the pricing more volatile.  I haven’t seen base commodities being this politicized in my 15 years in the recycling industry.  In the past, it was the investment bankers that were throwing the wrenches at us – now it is seems like everyone is.


We believe that we will be experiencing a tradition summer decline in commodity pricing across the board for scrap metal – with both ferrous and non-ferrous pricing coming under pressure.   There will be spikes up and down, but overall, I feel the trend will not be our friend.  Baring a resolution between China and the US, I don’t see a near term reversal.  However, the decline in scrap metal pricing should predicate a lower new material pricing (although the tariffs are skewing this a tad) – always looking for the silver lining…. 


What’s Next


We cannot fight the market – but we can ensure that we are doing our job to best market your scrap materials and give you the tools to do efficiently and effectively.  No rabbits being pulled out of a hat, just old fashion hard work and making sure that your getting the best value for your scrap metal. 


If you have any questions about your scrap metal program give me a call or an e-mail. 



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Thank you to our community



On behalf of our team, we would like to thank our region’s emergency response teams for coming to our aid yesterday. 


We experienced a small fire in our yard that our team was unable to contain, so we called 911.  Our fire department was able to easily contain the isolated fire and get immediate aid to our team member who suffered some flash burns – who has since returned safely to work, thank goodness. 


We would also like to extend a thank you to our customers and community members who have reached out to us in our challenging time to ensure that our team was safe and offered us support.


We take pride in being part of the fabric of our community.  We are humbled by our community’s support in our challenging time.




Amichai Tsarfati

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Stainless Steel Market Update January 2019

Happy New Year!


I trust that we have all enjoyed some festive time over the past few weeks. 


We certainly have enjoyed our time off the regular schedule – though both my wife and I are looking forward to January 7th….  back to school day!!


Looking back at the year, from a scrappers lens, we have enjoyed some ups and down.  On the ups side, ferrous scrap streams, have for the most part, been relatively stable and year over year stronger.  However, from the non-ferrous side, we have seen a major pull back in pricing in Copper, Aluminum, Lead and Stainless prices.


As discussed in my previous e-mail in late November, the trend in stainless scrap is still on a negative trend.  As noted in this AMM article, stainless steel scrap tags continue to falter.  Although nickel prices seem to have their floor, what the consumers are telling me now is that the spread on the price for nickel units is widening.  In scrapper talk, earlier in the year, the mills were giving us a rate of 80% a nickel unit, we are moving towards a 6-67% nickel unit world now.


So expect some continued softening in non-ferrous scrap metal streams.  Specifically with stainless, we continue to see this trend for the short to medium term – unless something fundamental changes.


So enjoy the last few days of the winter break.  For all of us parents, our holiday will start on Monday!



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Stainless Steel Market Update

The song remains the same…


Just as Led Zeppelin released an album of the same name in the 70’s, the stainless market appears to be stuck in the same cord of softening prices. 


Indeed, the nickel market has recently hit a psychological ‘blow’ with nickel trading below $5/lb – AMM quotes one dealer stating the LME is at the edge of the cliff! 


The song of lowering scrap metal prices has unfortunately been sung by myself since spring, as market pricing and consumer demand appear to working in concert – resulting in yet continued price deterioration.


The dance floor that is underpinning the LME continues to drop.  This is main driver of declining pricing is the decline that the LME has experienced over the past 12 months.  However, back to our economics 101 – there is enough supply to keep the mills working, so there is no pressure on mills to tighten spreads or look for supply.  It’s a broken record, but based on the article I read recently in the AMM, there doesn’t appear to be a change in the needle until late winter/early spring for scrap metal pricing to firm up.


As I have said before, the pricing is still no where near the levels of yesteryear when dealers were selling 304 stainless for 25 cents.  However, the scrap metal pricing softness is affecting both 300 series stainless and ferritic (400 series/magnetic) stainless all the same.  So brace yourselves for softer scrap metal pricing for your stainless and nickel alloy scrap metal pricing. 


As you know, we watch the markets closely in order to get you the best value for your scrap materials.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.



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Scrap Battery Prices Update

Is the sky falling?


Luckily, the sky is not falling, but the price for scrap lead acid batteries has been.  According to a recent article in the AMM, recent price drops at smelters have pushed  prices to a 2 year low.


The combination of a volatile and lower moving LME price for lead coupled with ample supply, the smelters appear to be taking full advantage of the situation, and as the article illustrates, are pushing the prices paid for scrap lower.


Based on my discussions with our consumer and other dealers, the fact is, there is a lot of supply out there and smelters are only going to pay what they have to. 

So as we enter the winter season, we anticipate further price drops for scrap lead acid batteries.  With cold weather killing battery cells, we anticipate the supply of batteries to remain constant or increase, giving the consumers no incentive to tighten their spreads or pricing.  As the article notes, I would expect them to test the floor for their pricing.


As you know, we are keeping our ear to the ground and will constantly look to provide you value for your scrap batteries and all other metals and alloys.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.



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Fall Update

As we experienced our dusting of snow this past week it made me realize that our last blog occurred when the thought of anything below 30 degrees was an eternity away!  However, here we are there are number of items to briefly touch on.


Fall Clean Up


Since Thanksgiving, we have experience 25+ degrees to below zero.  Not to dwell too much on the weather, but as the ‘Starks’ keep on reminding us, ‘Winter is Coming’.  If your shop, business, farm, property is in need of bins to help remove the clutter that have been building all year, give us a call and we can set you up.   Best to get the rubbish and misc. scrap out before the snow flies and buries it again for another year.


Market News


We are continuing to experience a lot of noise and volatility in the market place.  Although I would suggest that pricing in general is still very healthy, it would be fair to say that there is now a clear disconnect between scrap metal pricing and new material – whether ferrous or non-ferrous.


Tariffs and trade wars continue to disrupt the market and the flows of scrap materials. A major looser in this has been aluminum.  Prior to China banning the importations of scrap metal, a lot of lower grade materials that required additional sorting and handling tended to end up in China, such as the aluminum bi-product from shredding tin and cars (called ‘Zorba’ and ‘Twitch’).  Now this material is staying in the local North American market, and smelters are beginning to use this product, which is a lower grade alum product, as a substitute input in their aluminum melts.  In short, this has caused the price of prime grade alum scrap material to falter, as there is not need for the higher priced material in the mill’s melts.  


As with the aluminum scrap taking a ‘hit’ relative to the LME market price, we are also seeing ferrous scrap rangebound with export markets drying up due to tariff pressures on the imported steel.  We are noting that our customer’s new steel pricing has continued to rise to levels not seeing in the past, where as scrap metal pricing is not longer moving in tandem with these price increases.  I suspect that  this situation will continue until tariffs are removed or the export market finds a new growth market for their steel products to increase offshore demand for scrap.


Joseph News


If you haven’t been around our yards, please come and visit.   We have recently put into operation a new material handler with a twist.  Our new Fuchs 350 excavator is state of the art with a quick connect option that allows the crane to operate as a shear or a material handler/loader.  From safety to efficiencies, this machine will ensure that we are serving our clients needs and we are doing so in an environmentally responsible way, as our machine is equipped with a Tier IV engine exhaust system. 


Enjoy the fall and stay tuned for our next update!

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Ami Tsarfati
October 4, 2019
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Efraim Tsarfati
August 15, 2019
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