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Scrap iron man collects metal in Waynesboro

November 29, 2000

Scrap iron man collects metal in Waynesboro



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Charlie ReynoldsWAYNESBORO, Pa. - Charlie Reynolds remembers when scrap iron paid top dollar.

Reynolds, 47, of Waynesboro, makes his living driving around Franklin County, Pa., and parts of Washington county collecting scrap iron and other metals in his 32-year-old, beat-up Ford pickup.

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He hauls the material to recyclers in the area. He gets paid $1 for every 100 pounds of iron , 32 cents for a pound of aluminum and 40 cents for a pound of copper.

During World War II, scrap metal was at a premium. It was patriotic to save it for guys like Reynolds who made regular pickups for the war effort.

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Reynolds' truck looks more like it belongs in a junkyard than as a hauler of junk. It's rusty, banged up and it's multi-colored from its various replacement body parts.

"I put a new (used) motor in the truck myself. It keeps on running and it does the job. People know me by my truck. Some days I fill it up three times. If the loads get too heavy I stop by my place and take some off," he said.

The old blue truck, weighted down with a ton or so of metal, is a familiar Franklin County sight.

Reynolds has been a junkman for 28 years and he's proud of it. "It takes me around to a lot of different towns and I get to see a lot of people. I help them to get rid of stuff they don't want and it helps the environment at the same time."

His daily rounds - picking up the scrap metal and hauling it to the area recyclers that buy it - cover about 100 miles a day, he said.

His regular stops include 20 or so auto body and auto repair shops for banged-up body parts and worn-out mechanical parts, from old engines and transmissions to batteries and radiators.

The rounds also cover a half-dozen plumbing and electrical contractors for the bulk of his copper, brass and aluminum and another six or seven appliance stores for the big stuff.

He dismantles the appliances in his garage to separate scrap iron from the copper and aluminum.

People also flag him down on the road to ask if he'll pick up an old appliance or worn-out car.

He doesn't charge for the scrap metal or old cars he hauls away but sometimes people will hand him a dollar or two for gas, he said.

Reynolds has help most days from Michelle Patterson, 28, his friend of 10 years. She works beside him lifting her half of the heavy appliances onto the tailgate and throwing the other junk into the truck bed.

"This is my living," he said. It pays for my insurance, the cable TV, phone bill, rent for my garage and gas for my truck and Jeep. I like it because I can be my own boss."

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