The selling price of scrap silver is mostly affected by the market price of silver at the moment of selling. The value of a piece of scrap silver also depends highly on its purity. The greater the purity of a piece, the closer a seller can get to the market value for the weight of the piece.
Anything that affects the market value of silver affects the scrap value of silver. Silver price fluctuates according to demand. The greater the demand, the higher the price paid for scrap. Unfortunately, as demand grows, so does the amount of scrap silver on offer. As more people sell their scrap, the price goes downward, with buyers paying less per ounce. Buyers also tend to pay below the market worth of the silver, so shopping around is generally necessary.
Demand for scrap silver depends largely on industrial uses for silver and the conditions of the financial markets. As industry use rises, usually due to electronics production, the demand for mined and scrap silver rises accordingly. Silver also serves as an investment for many, with lower interest rates increasing demand for silver in order to get a greater return on investments than more expensive alternatives such as bonds.