Recycling and selling scrap metal like copper can be a very profitable side business.
Copper, that shiny orange-colored metal, is a very worthy metal.
You can find it in kitchenware, current and old electronics and appliances, motors, wires, plumbing pipes, fashion accessories and vintage jewelry, etc.
And by recycling and selling scrap copper, not only will you make money, but you’ll also doing your part in improving our environment by helping to efficiently recycle one more metal.
Where to Find Copper Around the House
The first thing you need to know is that copper proudly shows off in certain objects such as:
- Kitchenware (Pots and Pans- Spoons- Dishes- and some other useful or decorative items)
- Plumbing pipes
- Ceiling Fans
- Buttons and other Clothing accessories
- Vintage or amateur jewelry often of little worth by itself
- Plain wires
The second thing you need to consider is the copper hidden within objects or as a not so obvious part of them or in an alloy, such as:
- Electronics of all sorts (Computers, televisions, computer monitors, microwaves, dishwashers, washers and dryers, air conditioners–both units and central–, extension cords, etc.);
- Automobile’s parts
- All sorts of motors, especially those with many electronic components.
Last but not least, copper can be found in some home inner wiring and plumbing, something to remember at the time of renovation when so much copper goes into the trash without anyone considering it’s a worthy metal.
Scrap Copper Prices
You’ll rarely find copper in its pure state.
More likely, since it will probably come from manufactured or craft objects, it will be contaminated with other materials.
Copper price will change depending on its degree of purity or contamination with other metals such as plumb, steel or aluminum.
Copper pipes welded in joints will sell for less than a clean whole pipe.
On average, scrap copper is sold between $1.20 to $2.50 per pound. Many different factors affect copper prices, so prices fluctuate daily.
To get the best price, it will then be your best interest to clean every scrap, cutting the parts contaminated with welding materials or other.
How Copper Is Bought & Sold
Copper is sold in the Scrap Yards according to these broad categories:
- Scrap Copper Solids
- Scrap Copper Non-Solids
- Scrap Copper Wire
- Scrap Copper Breakage
- and Scrap Copper Alloy
The best price will go for every copper solid piece with no alloys, uncontaminated by scraps of other metals or materials.
The second best price will go for non-solid copper scraps such as chips, copper dust, and bits of pure copper.
Solid wire will fare almost as well as the solid pieces.
Copper breakage coming from motors and as parts of electronics will still pay reasonably well while copper alloys will have a lower price but still an excellent one in times of short supply.
Separating Your Scrap Copper
Once you have identified copper in your items, you need to separate copper by type and price categories.
You need to:
- Collect the pure copper pieces.
- Extract, clean out and cut the worthless parts of mixed materials in copper objects when this is possible.
- Make a consistent bunch of copper breakage
- Group all of the copper alloys
You don’t want to skip doing this.
That will cost you a pretty penny when you take them to the scrap yard to sell. Scrap yards will pay you the least amount since they have to spend time cleaning and sorting the scrap pieces.
Add your work value to better sell this commodity.
Where Can I Sell Copper?
Scrap yards are your best bet.
In almost every American city or town as well as in every important city or town in the world, there’re scrap yards. So whether you live in Michigan, New York, California, or half way around the world in India, Australia, the UK, or right next to us in Ontario Canada, you won’t have any trouble finding a scrapyard near you to sell your scrap copper to.
You can use your local yellow pages to find one near you, or better yet, use iScrapApp. Simply enter your zip code and it will show you a list of scrap yards in your local area.
These places buy all sorts of metals and will pay a good price for copper delivered in the proper way.
There may be more than one yard near your home. They will not all pay the same price. It’s better to do the legwork and shop for the best prices.
Keep in mind that copper is an international commodity and that its price varies according to the laws of demand and supply. Depending on how the world supply fares there will be different prices over time and recycled copper prices will adjust as well.
Note: There is also another, easier, option for selling scrap metal of any kind including copper–selling to 1-800-GOT SCRAP. But the convince will cost you money since this company ill pay you way less than what you could get at your local scrapyard.
Best Kept Secrets of Smart Copper Sellers
Here are a few tips and good-to-know things I have learned from experts in recycling and selling coppers while researching for this post.
1. Any Copper Solid has 2 selling points
Any copper solid (unalloyed and without other parts of other materials, for example, a copper dish) may have both a value for its type of piece or design, and for its material. Check on eBay for the first and in the scrap yard for the second and act accordingly. Prices may vary and, sometimes, you may even get a better price in the scrap yard.
2. Copper Solid gets you the best price
Any copper solid scrap is the most sought after scrap category and will always earn the highest price. Make sure to transform any copper clippings, electronic segments, and wire in a pure not contaminated copper scrap.
3. Clean up
Clean and polish as much as you can any unalloyed copper. Discard copper that went under fire; its brittleness will be questioned and will only make the lowest copper prices. Copper sheeting not damaged will pay well.
4. Even Copper dust has value
Any copper dust, chips or in bits and pieces, will have a good value. Collect it carefully. It sells by the weight and you’ll make more money if you can melt it and get copper nuggets instead of an amorphous mass of copper scrap.
5. Stripe Copper Wire
Always strip your wire before trying to sell it. Remember! You must add value through your work!
6. Separate Copper from Steel correctly
When dealing with motors and automobile parts, separate copper from steel in the cleanest possible way. You’ll also make money from the remaining steel. Scrap yards like it that way!
7. Copper Ally scraps fetch good prices
Copper alloy scraps sell equally well, as long as you can properly identify the alloy. The scrap yards have a separate category, Copper Alloy, which is different from Brass, even though brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and from Bronze, an alloy of copper and iron.
8. Don’t throw away old bathroom accessories
In the bathroom accessories industry and others linked to decorative arts and fashion, it’s possible to find all sorts of new alloys that have a high price, such as Cupronickel, Inconel, and Monel as well as imitation Silver or German silver.
If you want to make this a small side business, start offering metal and junk clean up services.
Once you have processed all the available copper in your home, do the same job in your close relatives’ homes. They’ll probably feel grateful if you help them to get rid of useless things they don’t have the time or the will to process like you do.
You can even put ads on Craigslist and offer to pick up discarded electronics, kitchenware, and anything that has copper in it.
Be helpful, keep the environment safe, and make a lot of money!