What You Need To Know About Recycling Copper For Additional Income

Posted on: 26 January 2022

Copper scrap is a growing industry, and there is money to be made recycling copper if you understand how to prepare and sell the copper material. Some nuances come with copper recycling, and they affect the price the recycler will pay significantly.

Copper Grading

Recycling copper scrap starts with preparing the material to meet the grading requirements of the scrap dealer. Most copper scrap is graded by the purity of the metal, so if you have some copper with steel, aluminum, or other materials on it, the scrap yard will often pay a lower price for the metal. In some cases, the difference between clean copper and copper mixed with other materials can be significantly different.

To get the best price for the copper, you need to ensure the metal is pure, so removing the casing from wires or taking steel screws out of a copper box can affect the profits you will see. The grading is sometimes expressed as clean and dirty, or number one and number two copper, so talk to the recycler in your area to determine how their system works and what they are looking for when purchasing copper scrap.

Daily Pricing

If you have spent the time to prepare the copper scrap you have collected, you need to determine when to take it to the recycler. It is essential to watch the daily prices to make the best return on your scrap, and the prices can change based solely on what the recycler has in the yard. If they have a lot of copper, they may not be paying full value for what you are trying to sell. 

The best way to ensure you get the best price for your copper scrap is to hold onto it until you have a large amount, and then when the price goes up, sell it all at one time. Since the scrap yards pay for metal based on the weight, make tight bundles out of old wire to take up less storage space and consider cutting the copper up to help store it easier without affecting the price you will receive for it. 

Sorting Copper

Before you take your copper scrap to the recycler, take the time to sort the copper so that you can sell all the number one copper at the highest price and then sell the mixed material as a group after. In some cases, mixed metals are unavoidable, so while most copper can be cleaned up before selling it, things like soldered pipe joints are challenging to get the lead solder out of. 

The sorting process makes it easier for you to sell it without haggling over the price at the scale, and you could even sell your number one copper one day and save the number two until that price goes up on another day.