When it comes to recycling scrap metal, copper is one of the highest value metals that can garner a decent profit, even for the average person who enjoys recycling as a hobby. If you're considering scouting for copper to recycle for extra money, there are a few things you need to know in order for it to become a successful venture. Follow these tips so you can get the most money out of your time and effort.
Understanding Grades of Copper
Not all copper is the same in the recycling business. Copper comes in three different grades based on the consistency and quality. Grade one copper is shiny and completely clean and free of all paint, soldering material, and other items. Grade two copper may have some burnt sections or be corroded, tarnished, or covered with paint. Grade three copper is thinner and consists of lighter copper scrap used as flashing or even as copper foil. Grade one will bring in the most cash while grade three will typically be offered at a lower price per pound.
Where to Find Copper
Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, so it's not surprising that you'll find it in most electric motors and wiring. Look for copper scrap from small motors like car starters and generators as well as things like fan motors. Old appliances may also contain a fair amount of copper, particularly in refrigerators. HVAC units use copper as well. Plumbing pipe made from copper is certainly high in value, but it's also difficult to find it in scrap form since most people know its value and will typically recycle it themselves. Look for copper at construction sites and find out where you can find discarded items that contain this valuable metal. Just be sure you're obtaining it legally and not getting it without consent from the construction site owners.
The Recycling Process
If you bring copper to your local scrapyard for money, be aware that the recycling facility will charge you a fee and will also pay less for copper that has to be cleaned. Before the metal can be recycled, it should be free of all dirt and coatings. If a scrapyard has to remove this themselves, they'll definitely pay you less since it costs them money in terms of labor and overhead.
Most copper wire is coated with a plastic insulator. If you are able to remove this before recycling, you'll definitely bring in more money. You may be able to remove the plastic insulation using a sharp knife or even by burning it off. Be aware that damaged copper wire or copper pieces that have any kind of paint or other material on it will bring you less cash. Clean it as much as you can before bringing it in for recycling so you get the most money out of your hard work.
For more tips and assistance, contact services like Sackin Metals.