In Scrap-Metal Market, Buyers Have to Tell ‘Darth’ From ‘Vader’

When Randy Goodman calls a customer in China, the 51-year-old scrap trader sometimes asks: Do you want Elmo, Shelmo or Zorba?

The world’s $100 billion trade in junked cars, refrigerators and other metallic goods hinges on 100 or so short, catchy terms.

Candy: Heavy copper.

Lady: Brass shell case.

Thigh: Aluminum grindings.

Not only does Mr. Goodman, an executive vice president with Atlanta-based trading company Greenland America Inc., know and use all these code words to sell scrap aluminum, copper and zinc around the world. He gets to make them up.

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