First and foremost, you are not looking for troubles with the law. That is a bad deal or take it without the approval of the owner, even if it feels like you are doing them a service.
Ask politely, offer to people and small company your help to clean up their property. The scrap metal business has the potential to be a win-win business. The owner of the scrap gets rid of things he could not care less. You get your salable scrap. The environment benefits too.
Once you have gotten a glimpse of where to find the scrap metal you can start schedule regular trips to those places and look for your deals. The big deal, at least at the beginning is to know what do have value and what don’t.
Here is your priority list when it comes to search and selection:
1) Scrap Precious Metals
Here I mean scrap gold, scrap silver and scrap platinum, essentially.
Old computers contain small quantities of gold, but gold can be found also in all places like parks and beaches. Silver is also used in electronic circuits. Platinum can be found in old catalytic converters and thermocouple wire.
2) Scrap Copper
Copper is almost everywhere. Electric transformers, motor, appliances. Pipes. Very easy to find and quite valuable. Scrap copper is the bread and butter of a scrap metal collector.
3) Scrap aluminium
It can be found in beverage cans, window frames, blinds, bicycles, especially mountain bikes (if they are not in steel, chances are that are in aluminium).
4) Scrap Brass
Look for it in gun cartridges, plumbing and gas fixtures.
5) Scrap appliances